Aboriginal Elder Mickey Ryan has served Lismore City Council with a summons over the contentious North Lismore Plateau development, which he claims is set to be built on sacred Indigenous land.
Mr Ryan, who is chairman of the Bundjalung Elders Council and the North Lismore Plateau Protection Association, has commenced legal proceedings to invalidate the development consent.
He has already commenced legal action against the developer, Winton Property Group and the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) in an attempt to halt the 433-lot first stage of the development.
Lismore City Council is understood to be borrowing around $32 million to build the supporting infrastructure for the project, which was approved by the JRPP over the objections of the Elders Council and others in October last year.
The summons seeks an injunction relating to all work that relies on that JRPP consent, plus legal costs.
The Land & Environment Court is set to hear the matter on March 15.
Mr Ryan told Echonetdaily successive attempts by local Aboriginal people to establish the importance of the land to their culture have been rebuffed during the approvals process, adding that Council is ‘not listening’ to their views on the project.
‘There was no consultation whatsoever,’ he said. ‘They’ve never listened to any of the Elders here’.
‘Everyone on the Elders Council opposes the development of North Lismore Plateau,’ he said.
‘The Bundjalung Aboriginal Corporation wrote them letters [over a number of years] asking them to come and talk about this development – they never turned up.
‘I consulted with the Bundjalung Tribal Society. They’re involved with Lismore City Council in a number of ways and the council asked them for their info. They told them [that they were opposed] as well as the Land Council.
‘So they say they consulted with Aboriginal organisations in Lismore – I would like to know who.
Mr Ryan believes there is ‘no room for mediation’ over the issue because ‘sacred land is sacred land’.
‘I’m a Traditional Owner and a Native Title applicant and we’re protectors of country.
‘So I’m protecting my country for the future.
‘[The development] is totally inappropriate. The mountain’s sacred – it’s a connection to our country.
‘How do you keep things sacred? You leave them alone,’ Mr Ryan said.
Lismore’s acting executive director of sustainable development, Peter Jeuken, said in a statement ‘Council has received formal notice of an appeal to the Land & Environment Court against the Northern Regional Planning Panel’s determination for a North Lismore Plateau development application, which was approved in October 2018.
‘There are 11 grounds stated for the appeal relating to the adequacy of environmental and cultural assessments. The matter has now been referred to Council’s solicitor,’ he said.