27.6 C
Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

North coast’s biodiversity hotspots ‘again under threat’

Latest News

Natural history

While I have not the informed authority to confirm John Bradley’s musings on the birds that seem to be...

Other News

Byron Bay SLSC takes fourth place at NSW country championships

South coast club Warillanhas overturned five years of Cudgen Headland dominace to win this year’s NSW Country Surf Lifesaving...


Warren Kennedy wrote an excellent letter last week (28 January) pointing out the deficiencies of capitalism as it exists...


Government ‘DISASTER’ signs promoting fear of floods are affecting property sales. We are trying to sell our beautiful family home...

Ahana Candles

Victoria Cosford Many years ago, Marianni had a dream in which a golden liquid was pouring over her hands. She...

Saint Bob of the Greens in Lennox Head

With hardly a vacant seat in the auditorium, Bob Brown kept the party faithful’s eyes, ears and hearts glued...

Community advocacy

I am a small business owner of Byron Central Apartments. Tamara Smith MP has recently supported us on two...

The fight to protect the north coast’s world-renowned biodiversity is on again with renewed pressure to stop councils establishing environmental zones (e-zones).

Byron Shire Council has its proposed Environmental Zones now on exhibition, and the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is calling on Ballina, Byron and Tweed shire councils to ‘remain resolute in the face of yet another concerted effort’ to scrap them by the state’s farmer’s lobby and the National Party.

‘Environmental Zones (E zones) are the only way that local communities can over-ride the state government’s new draconian land clearing laws, apply reasonable constraints on logging, and limit inappropriate developments in our most important remnant vegetation’,  NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said.

‘The far north coast has been identified as both a national and international Biodiversity Hotspot because of its high number of endemic species and the threats of excessive land clearing,’ he said.

‘Our predecessors cleared most of the 75,000-hectare Big Scrub, Australia’s largest area of lowland subtropical rainforest. Even with regeneration there is less than 1,000ha left today.

‘A similar fate befell many of the forests in the Richmond, Tweed and Brunswick valleys, giving the region the ignominy of having the most species threatened with extinction in NSW.

‘Back in 2012 NSW Farmers and the National Party were successful in stopping the Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle and Lismore councils from proceeding with their proposed Environmental Zones and had them excised from the council’s Local Environmental Plans as Deferred Areas.

‘In 2015 new rules were introduced just for the far north coast in an attempt to restrict council’s ability to implement Environmental Zones.

‘Since then Kyogle and Lismore Councils have given-up and removed all Environmental Zones from their Local Environment Plans.

‘Now that Byron Council has its proposed Environmental Zones on exhibition NSW Farmers are pushing to have E-zones prohibited, and the Department of Planning is once again threatening to intervene’, (The Land, 9 November 2017).

‘North Coast councils have had environmental zones since the late 1980s. For the past 30 years they have been effective in protecting many important places.

‘We need to restore protection to these areas and extend it to other high environmental value vegetation, such as rainforest, old-growth forest, endangered ecological communities, important habitat for Koalas and other threatened species, wetlands and vegetation on stream banks.

‘The National Party has boasted that their new rules will allow a fourfold increase in land clearing. The Government’s mapping of the limited lands to be excluded from clearing leaves most of the remnant high environmental value vegetation left on the far north-coast at risk.

‘Australia is second out of the top seven countries worldwide responsible for 60% of the world’s biodiversity loss between 1996 and 2008, which has been primarily attributed to landclearing in Queensland and NSW.

‘As shown at Whian Whian in 2013 and recently at Limpinwood, regulation of logging has taken a similar open slather approach due to few constraints and lax regulation by the EPA.

‘Both Ballina and Tweed councils have asked the state government to give them a consent role in forestry in an attempt to better protect koalas and other threatened species. The government refused their requests. It is only E-zones that give councils this power.

‘We need E-zones to protect our important areas from this government’s environmental vandalism. We can’t let the NSW Farmers get rid of our last line of defence’ Mr Pugh said.

He said a leaked NSW Cabinet document shows company profits, not wildlife conservation, was the prime motivation behind the new biodiversity laws the Coalition introduced in NSW last November.



Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Community advocacy

I am a small business owner of Byron Central Apartments. Tamara Smith MP has recently supported us on two separate occasions advocating effectively with...

Swivel by name, drivel by nature

The lack of authenticity of Byron Councillor, Mark Swivel, does not come as a surprise from this side of the fence. A well-to-do lawyer...

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is potentially misleading. A council’s total...

Go Thistles!

Lismore Thistles Soccer Club has launched the Thistles Acceleration Program, in the process becoming the city’s only player development academy.