The National Party has a lot to answer for over West Byron and the protection of our koalas and wetlands.
Firstly they foisted West Byron on the community based on the false premise that it would only generate an additional 6,000 cars onto Ewingsdale Road when it was obvious this was a gross understatement. How could they allow this?
Now they are stopping needed protection for West Byron’s wetlands and koalas.
In late 2016 the NSW Government released their draft State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) on coastal management, which was meant to ‘ensure that future coastal development is appropriate and sensitive to our coastal environment’.
Regrettably they have sat on it for over a year. It should have given West Byron’s wetlands and the Belongil Estuary the recognition and assessment they deserve, and theoretically greater protection, including for the Wallum Sedge Frog.
In August 2016, after years of procrastination, Byron Shire Council resolved to submit its Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management to the Director of the Department of Planning and Environment for approval in accordance with the Koala SEPP 44. It is yet to be approved.
It recognises the koala habitat at West Byron as being core habitat that SEPP 44 requires to be protected. This is what our koalas need.
The National Party claim credit for introducing SEPP 44 in 1995 and 22 years later won’t let us achieve the protection it intended. Now the National Party seems to want to render the Coastal SEPP equally ineffective.
These delays seem intended to maximise the development on West Byron and the traffic this will entail.
I call upon the National Party’s local representative Ben Franklin to please explain why our koalas and wetlands are still denied the protection they urgently need.
Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay