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May 14, 2021

Fundraiser for court challenge to North Lismore Plateau development

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Bundjalung elder Mickey Ryan. (supplied)

The fight to develop or not to develop the North Lismore Plateau goes back to the Land and Environment Court (L&EC) on February 10. The North Lismore Protection Association (NLPA) are asking the community to come together to raise money to support their court case that is challenging the contentious development at a concert on February 1 at the Lismore Bowlo.

Legal action was started by Aboriginal Elder Mickey Ryan, who is chairman of the Bundjalung Elders Council and the North Lismore Plateau Protection Association, against the Winton Property Group who are developing the site in January 2019. 

The development approval (DA) for ‘433 lots [stage one], of the possible 1,300 lots, for the North Lismore Plateau [was approved] by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP)’ on October 17, 2018.

The North Lismore Plateau is ‘such a significant part of our Aboriginal history, says Uncle Mickey Ryan.

‘If they take away our history then we have no future.’

Local elders have said that on the plateau there are burials, women’s birthing sites, scarred trees, artefacts, sacred water holes and spiritual dreaming sites.

Revoke DA

The current case is seeking to have the development approval revoked by the L&EC based on the fact that no species impact statement (SIS) was provided with the DA. The NLPA say they are providing evidence that there are 14 to 15 threatened species that have been identified on the footprint of the site including seven threatened bat species of 18 observed. The NLPA claim that if the development proceeds the eastern long-eared bat and the white eared monarch bird are likely to become extinct locally.

‘The developer should have conducted a SIS when they originally applied for the development application and they didn’t. We will be arguing that as there are several threatened species at this site that will face extinction if the development goes ahead. Due to the failure to provide an SIS, as was required, then the DA should be thrown out,’ said Al Oshlack, researcher and advocate for the Justice Advocacy Network, representing Mr Ryan.

‘Even the developers own experts have confirmed the existence of these bats. They have said that they have identified at least three females and one male that are in small areas of rainforest on the site. This shows that it is a possible breeding site.’

One of four areas that the NLPA say the developer has cleared and woodchipped emerging rainforest on the North Lismore Plateau. Image supplied.

Injunction sought

Due to the alleged clearing of areas of approximately 4ha of emerging rainforest six weeks ago by the developer  Mr Ryan sought an injunction against the developer in early December.

‘The developers have given an undertaking to the court that they will clear no more vegetation at the site. This is the third time we have had to seek an injunction,’ Mr Oshlack told Echonetdaily.

‘There are a number of other issues that we will be highlighting during the case including that we believe the developer dug up and destroyed an inferred grave on the North Lismore Plateau without authority or approval.

‘We are also challenging the construction certificate. The developer is stating that it allows them to dig up 108,000 cubic metres of fill from an excavation pit on the North Lismore Plateau and they are using that to fill the floodplain for stage one of the development. We believe that there is no assessment of the impact this will have on North Lismore’s flooding. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) have written to Lismore Council with their concerns on this several time stating that this development will be isolated and will have no escape when it is flooding.

The site where stage one is currently under construction. The area is being filled for the first 95 lots. Image supplied.

‘The developer is also stating that the construction certificate gives them permission to create a haul road for the movement of the excavation material.

‘We are saying that there was no approval in the DA for the excavation, road, filling or clearing that they are currently undertaking. We are seeking that the court order them to remediate all the work they have undertaken so far.’

Community fundraiser

To continue with the court case the NLPA are holding a community variety concert to help raise the funds they need. The Songs for the Sleeping Lizard event is being held on Saturday, February 1 at the Lismore City Bowlo with a sausage sizzle at 6pm and the concerns starting at 7pm. Blakboi, Isabella A Cappella and Nimbin Poetry Cup finalist Anna Avocado, are just some of the local talent supporting the show. Concert Tickets $10 at the door. A light supper is also available for purchase.

♦ A spokesperson for the Winton Property Group said, ‘We will reserve comments for after the court case’.

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  1. This is just dreadful. Surely the developers can work something out with our local Aboriginal Community about preserving some areas of the site.

    We must also not lose sight of the need of our own local people who need to have a home to live in, the development goes a long way to address the issue of more housing.

    All resources in our rural/regional areas is based on population growth, less population means loss of services, increases in rates and fewer resources supplied by all levels of government.

    I most sincerely trust that a mutually satisfactory arrangement where the most significant areas of land can be preserved for the future and the development go ahead. We can all co-exist, if we choose to.

    • “All resources in our rural/regional areas is based on population growth, less population means loss of services, increases in rates and fewer resources supplied by all levels of government.”

      Where does the scarcity of jobs fit into your theory?

    • Der Anne, please do not feel guilty for the action of this company taking what does not belong to it.

      God is watching. And has sent his messengers to assure you all that God has waken. And when he came back, he went in search for his people who he left to tend to his garden. When he found them, they were all but destroyed by their enemy.

      Their children were being forcibly taken from their families and never being returned.

      The Men and youth were being targeted and locked away to prevent birthing rates in our groups and population.

      Women were also being targeted and locked away to reduce and prevent birthing rates so that the Tribes would be totally extinct.

      The Tribes borders originally placed by God for them still was there, but their enemies told everyone only about their fictitious borders and not the true borders. In each border, are different spiritual Lores.

      We do not harm anyone. This is against our Lore.
      We offer healing to those who are sickly.
      We find and then return people lost, back to their families.
      We teach truth because truth is programmed into our genetic makeup. We also innerstand that the flame of truth can never be downed by the enemy. Because within that flame of Truth, is God.

      Now God is getting me to arrange his Courts in Lismore known as ‘The Heart.’

      The local churches know God has sent me, yet they are silent and they have concealed the signs given to them by me, Deborah. Messenger sent.

  2. How many appeals on this approved development are there going to be?
    The developers have bent over backwards to do the right thing by all, including our local Aboriginals environment, wildlife etc otherwise the development would not have been approved.
    Mickey and Al continue to bring up unfounded complaints, when are the courts simply going say enough!!
    Lismore needs development to go ahead, increased population means increased jobs, and more money flow for all. Our Council has a push on to get the local area out of the doldrums. This is a major step in giving our local economy a boost and will help in the revitalisation of the CBD.
    Its time for these two whingers to look at the big picture instead of trying to cause trouble and get their photos in the paper.
    The vast majority of local Aboriginals that I have spoken to agree that the development should go ahead and believe that Mickey and Al are not accurately representing the majority opinion but simply grandstanding for their own ego.

    • Hi Col, I’m afraid we don’t have a record of your comment from yesterday. Perhaps there was an IT issue. If you’re able to repost it I’ll have a read and then put it up (assuming it’s not defamatory;).

  3. Pretty sure all these attempts at working with and even sabotage by ryan has proven unsuccessful. Why are they asking for the community to try and fund this. I think Ryan needs to pull his head in and stop trying to get notirty and what feels like a pay day from this development.


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