Hans Lovejoy, editor
Former Greens mayor and NSW upper house MLC Jan Barham made life difficult for councillors and staff who had assembled in the Council chambers on Thursday.
Usually that’s the job of longtime Council watcher John ‘Fast Buck$’ Anderson and sometimes Matthew ‘Cleva’ O’Reilly, who represents Community Alliance for Byron Shire (CABS).
Barham’s passionate plea during public access for a pause on selecting a noise-attenuation tender for the Byron bypass eventually came to naught.
She argued that the precautionary principle should apply and that transparency and good process are vital.
Councillors – many of them claiming to be Green – appeared to either not care or understand.
There were awkward silences throughout her explanation of the biobanking mess.
She said, ‘I can’t see enhancement within the biobanking proposal [as required by legislation]. There is a red flag component within the biobanking scheme, which is defined as a “no go” zone. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) made a [red flag] mistake within their assessment, and staff have not corrected the mistake’.
Another awkward moment was when she asked, ‘Is there a proper dispute-resolution document prior to the bypass commencement? It could be a disaster for the residents and a liability for Council. Many councils suffer from decisions made without due diligence – especially with houses that are heritage listed’.
Politics in the modern age appears to be all about belligerent, delusional self-belief.
We are now at a point where all local, state, and federal political actors double down on idiotic positions that you can drive, ahem, a truck through.
Poor process is ignored and questions remain unanswered and dodged in the hope that corporate governance will grind onwards, leaving everything flattened.
Another plausible explanation for the mess this council finds itself in is because of a massive lack of experience, coupled with – as mentioned above – delusional self-belief.
If the current Greens councillors really think that former members should just shut up, then fine. That’s been the message so far. Old and in the way.
The new lot just need to explain why their policies are better. So far, all that’s been presented are blind faith that staff have it all covered and there’s no problems except a noisy minority. That’s about as scary as governance gets.
Quick! We need a community solutions panel to distract us with a positive public relations exercise!
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