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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Genuinely green?

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Sally Newham, Nimbin

I have just written to Tamara Smith MP regarding the concerns outlined by Jan Barham in the 7 Aug 7 Byron Echo re the question of whether subtropical rainforest lies in the path of the planned bypass destruction.

I hope that my voice and others will help these concerns get heard and heeded. To be clear, I am opposed to any project that would destroy protected wetland and the habitat of an endangered species (thanks to the broken Orwellian policy of ‘biobanking’), whether there is rainforest there or not.

As a bit of an ill-informed bystander from Lismore LGA, I’m confused by the situation in Byron. Surely there is some way to run the bypass that does not involve this level of ecological destruction?

Isn’t this one of those situations when a genuinely green council would be doing the tough work of prioritising the protection of precious ecology and biodiversity, and actively listening to and working collaboratively with long-respected ecological ‘elders’ of our community such as David Milledge, Jan Barham, Dailan Pugh, and others?

Byron Shire, and our broader area, has a larger role to play here in terms of leadership. We can’t underestimate the role we play as examples of hope and inspiration for the rest of the country, if not the world, with regard to ecological respect and environmental protection. This isn’t just an Instagram image; it’s a meaningful history and an important role we play as a community. If we can’t do it here, then what does that say to the rest of our country and world?

I hope that the spirit of peace and inner work that Byron is genuinely known for will prevail and provide a means for people who are serious about protecting our local ecology to be heard and respected and worked with meaningfully and successfully for the sake of the non-humans we share this wondrous place with, and without whom it would not be a wondrous place at all.

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  1. Sally You have no need to be concerned. The chosen route runs for the greater part on an existing street, which as the EIS shows and common sense would tell you minimises enivronmental harm. It then runs through a short stretch of swamp – the local word for “wetlands”. That very small stretch is not a protected area.

    I write this from the Kimberleys. The vastness of this country and its protected wilderness gives a fresh perspective to what is a local Byron land planning issue , one which some havemisrepresented as a major ecological issue.

  2. Yes Peter, it is a major ecological issue !

    I expect you will have observed in the Kimberleys, the vast amount of lowland subtropical rainforest, Mitchell’s Rainforest Snail and Mitchell’s Rainforest Snail habitat occurring up there in such suitable habitat for them? Maybe being sooo plentiful in the Kimberleys is why they’re not listed as ENDANGERED up there? You probably also saw lots of koalas and their legally protected, specifically defined, koala habitat too, and so have probably satisfied yourself that must be the reason they haven’t been scientifically assessed as vulnerable up there as well? BTW, how many koalas does the Kimberly have? How much lowland subtropical rainforest occurs up there in the arid dry tropics?

    Yours is the classic spurious and ignorant Class A developers argument. Scientists would love to have your insights as to which one of the thousand cuts that was – or will be, the one that finally ended the troubling existence of so many of our nuisance threatened species.

    You, like the sham Greens on Council, have obviously missed several points – for starters, threatened species are legally protected wherever they occur under both State and Commonwealth legislation with specific requirements to be met through a defined approvals processes and specific, scientifically-based management plans for all development proposals. Most threatened species are in the precarious positions they find themselves in through decades of small decisions culminating in major habitat loss and serious decline. BSC have ignored the very science that they based their restoration of this wetland from 2011-2015, which identified that patch of rainforest, and lead to the discovery of the Endangered snail on site. Then BSC compounded their error by playing semantics to avoid their legal responsibilities to avoid proper processes. Obviously it wasn’t hard for them, they’ve had decades of schooling by numerous unscrupulous local developers!


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