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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

To the point

Latest News

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.

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Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

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Independent Byron Shire Councillor Basil Cameron has announced his candidature for Mayor.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Killer Crocs!

When I was 18, to rebel against the world my parents had created, I shaved a half Mohawk, encouraged my hair to stand on end, grew my armpit hair, wore torn black rags, too much eyeliner and wore 18-hole Dr. Martens boots. These days, to give their parents the shits, the kids are wearing Crocs. With socks. They’re going for comfort.

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As mothers across Australia look forward to (slightly burnt) toast in bed, the local farmers and producers in our...

Fast Buck$, Coorabell

It’s not often one makes a particular point at a Council meeting and then sees that point boldly illustrated.

I addressed Council on the subject of transparency. I argued that the way council staff filter the information councillors rely upon and the way they fudge answers to questions, means that often councillors don’t have sufficient information to engage in meaningful debate. This constitutes a brake on free speech.

I suggested that the mayor, despite allegedly being in favour of free speech, actively protects the staff in terms of this. 

Immediately after my address I got to put my public question – which, having to be filed the previous day left plenty of time for Council staff to hone their fudge. 

The RMS has now come up with the balance of funds for the bypass. The announcement so close to Christmas made me suspicious that Council might try to commence work over the holiday period, so I framed my question to bring a bit of heat to the situation. 

Staff have in the past failed to inform councillors about the strict environmental conditions attached to the consent issued by the Land & Environment Court, and consistently with this the staff have told the Butler St community that, ‘Yes the conditions have been fulfilled’ without providing supporting details or documentation.

I sought to put Ralph James (Council’s chief legal rep) on the spot by asking him to put his professional reputation on the line by guaranteeing that the conditions had been fulfilled. Instead I got the usual fudge: Council supplied the Butler St community with all relevant documentation during the court hearing. My question, of course, referred to what has happened since the hearing, not during it. 

Mr James then went on to say that if anyone wanted information the’d have to go through FOI, a tedious process where staff can and do stuff you around for months.

Clearly Mr James was not prepared to offer a guarantee, which in turn tells me that the consent conditions have not been fulfilled

This means that Council has no right to proceed with construction at this stage; they’d be risking serious litigation if they did. Meanwhile the FOI process has begun.


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1 COMMENT

  1. At a Council meeting as we pencil in what is happening, there are times we draw in a breath, and we hold that moment in, in our mind, not too long but we do hold it momentarily.
    Byron Council at times we can see through and being a parent I addressed Council on transparency across the genres of time. I articulated in an artful way that council staff do sift the information councillors rely upon and redirect answers in a discourse because of time restraints and often councillors don’t have sufficient information to engage in meaningful debate. Free Speech is therefore muzzled and it is puzzling as any depiction in the chamber of the illustrations of Van Gogh.

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