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April 23, 2021

‘Cleva’ O’Reilly announces council tilt

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President of Community Alliance for Byron Shire Association (CABS), Matthew ‘Cleva’ O’Reilly, has announced his intention to run in the next Council election, to be held September 12, 2020.

Currently there are four Greens councillors, two Labor, one Nationals Party-aligned and two left-leaning independents.  

Myocum resident Matthew O’Reilly addresses Council. Photo Eve Jeffery

And while he is a member of the Greens, he says ‘at this stage, I am still unclear whether it will be as a Green or as an Independent.’ 

The Greens pre-selection is expected in April, when members will vote for the candidates who will run for Council. Crs Michael Lyon and Sarah Ndiaye have confirmed they will contest. Greens mayor Simon Richardson told The Echo he ‘hasn’t decided.’   

Cleva has also ruled out running as a Greens mayor. 

‘I can rule out seeking pre-selection for mayor from the Byron Greens. If I do nominate for the Greens, it will only be for a councillor position on the ballot.

‘If I nominate, whether I become a Greens councillor or not will rest with the Byron Greens membership and whether or not they approve of the direction of the current Greens councillors. 

‘I am not critical of all that the current Greens councillors have achieved. They have done some great things, and had some excellent achievements. 

‘But my major concern is over-development, inappropriate DAs that are not in the community interest and an excessive focus on a jobs and growth agenda. 

‘I do not believe that the current and previous Council, under the current mayor, have got the balance right. 

‘However, I estimate that I am in agreement with the mayor and Green councillors on about 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the issues facing Byron Shire.  

‘It is those five-to-ten per cent of issues where we disagree that will be the areas I will be focusing on at this year’s election.

‘I will be making those differences clear to the Byron Greens membership, along with the areas where I do agree with current councillors. 

‘If the Byron Greens members choose to support my application for Greens candidacy then they will be sending a message that the current Green councillors have become overly moderate, and moved too far to the right of what a Green base expects of them. 

‘I do not know if I will have enough Greens member votes to achieve a winnable position on the Byron Greens ticket, and if the Greens membership supports the current status quo then that is their right’.

Cleva says he opposes the Business and Industrial Lands Strategy (BILS), which is again before councillors this Thursday. 

‘All Greens councillors were in support of the plans last time it was voted upon late last year’. 

Cleva says if the BILS is approved this Thursday, he will lobby NSW MPs to have it amended and re-exhibited. 

‘Whatever happens, I will not be letting up on the inappropriateness of the current BILS and it will be a legacy I will continue to raise, time and time again, as the Shire continues to be inundated by a tsunami of over-development’.

Disillusioned with some decisions

‘Since I turned 18 and started voting back in 1995, I have only ever voted Green, so it has come as quite a shock to become so disillusioned with some of the current Green councillors’ decisions. Be that as it may, I get on well with Crs Michael, Sarah and Jeanette [Martin] and know that I can work effectively with all three of them if they are re-elected to Council’. 

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  1. Well, Cleva can’t be any worse than the bunch of drongos we currently have. But as on principle I NEVER vote for a party, he stands a chance of getting my vote only if he runs as a true independent.

  2. Maybe people should look in to “Cleva’s” own DA’s and developments. He’s already playing the game near uncle tom’s…

  3. Never heard of him and the fact that he uses the name ‘Cleva’ means he is obviously trying to compensate for something. Maybe put it to the test and ask him some real questions? From that photo it looks like he’s refined the ‘Scomo’ thumbs.

  4. You have obviously never been to Council meetings in the past few years where he has spoken articulately about a range of issues in the Shire, or read the Byron Echo for many years where he has been featured. If Matthew was on Council at the present time he would be the most intelligent person there. Always well researched, articulate and has a good insight to Council and Shire concerns, he would be a fantastic representative for Byron Shire. I wish him well.

  5. HI everyone, Matthew O’Reilly here. I have actually asked the Echo in the past to not use my nickname “Cleva” as it is really only friends and family who refer to me that way. It is actually meant in a sarcastic way and is making fun of me but I have been told it comes across to people who don’t know me as very egotistical.
    Anyway I just wanted to point out that if I really was a “property developer” and was seeking to make a lot of money I am certainly going about it the wrong way. Our farm has made a loss every year since 2012. I and my family have poured our life savings into this farm as we want to create a sustainable agricultural farm where my parents my children, my wife and I can spend the rest of our lives. If anyone wants to read our two DAs that have been approved by Council then please go to the Council DA tracker and look them up. They are hardly the way to become rich through property investment. It is also a bit illogical to imagine that I want to make a lot of money out of our family farm. We were approached by a senior planner acting for the land owner consortium who wanted to rezone Saddle Road and turn it into a new town several years ago. He showed us a large sub-division map of all the saddle road precinct cut up into small urban blocks of 400m2 to 600m2. Our two pieces of land were included and we could have had up to 100 or more separate housing lots on our land plus a small shopping centre precinct. My family and I rejected this proposal as all we have ever wanted is a family farm that is sustainable and viable. We have been fighting a rezoning of the Saddle Ridge precinct ever since. If we had really been developers, only in it for the money, we would have jumped in and sold off our land one house block at a time and made millions. Instead we have spent millions making our land a best practice example of sustainable regenerative agriculture.
    I know some independent voters are angry with me for supporting the Greens and I know some Greens voters are angry with me for saying I may run as an independent. It is a very hard call as I am a Green at heart. I want to make the Byron Greens Green again and save Byron from over-development. They are the two things driving me and it is very hard to decide how to achieve both outcomes.
    Blessings Matt O’Reilly


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