Bangalow labels itself as being ‘a little above Byron’ – it’s hardly a hotbed of radicalism, especially in the context of Byron Shire.
But on Friday (March 1), a group of locals who were keen to meet premier Gladys Berejiklian to discuss issues including drug testing at festivals and the medium-density housing code were left disappointed when she failed to show up to a pre-arranged meeting.
The meeting, ostensibly to announce some ‘big news for Bangalow’, was due to take place at the Bangalow Hotel, with Nationals Ballina candidate Ben Franklin in tow. But its cancellation was announced just two days beforehand on the Bangalow 2479 Facebook page.
Many locals took to the page to express their frustration.
Y’eni Flordelava queried, ‘Why has this been postponed? The festival community and pro drug testing crew are ready for a chat to this soon to be fired person.’
Simon Lovell said, ‘She’s about to find out how big the voting population between 18 & 35 is in a few weeks, enjoy the office it whilst it lasts.’
Another published this amusing photo.
Rosalie Birch said, ‘Her security team called the police when they spotted four middle aged women waiting to speak to Gladys up in Kingscliff a few weeks back. Four police officers arrived.’
Mr Franklin’s ALP rival Asren Pugh made political capital out of the no-show, issuing a media release on the subject.
‘The premier has shown her true colours by running from the community in Bangalow,’ he said.
‘Our community deserves real answers to the issues that we care about.
‘We deserve the opportunity to hear directly from the premier why she has declared a war on our festivals, why she is imposing massive overdevelopment on our community and why she is letting our koala habitat be destroyed.
‘I would say she should stay and face the music but this premier would just try to shut it down,’ Mr Pugh said.
So why was the event cancelled? We still don’t know. Echonetdaily emailed Ben Franklin on Monday (March 4) but has not received a reply.