Jo Faith, Newtown

John Lazarus’s letter (26 August) addressed the possibility of a new art installation. I was hoping that [a proposal to spend] ratepayers’ money would include the possibility of a First Nations artist being included. First Nations artists are recognised globally as unique. [But apparently] Not so. I continued reading as John Lazarus attempted to explain process to Cr Michael Lyon.

Reading the conclusion I felt physically ill and despairing for Byron Shire. Michael informs John, ‘It’s pretty clear no-one is listening to you John. Give up the ghost mate, for your sake more than anything. You are less relevant than Fast Buck$’.

In this besmirching statement I felt that not only was John vaporised, but also the whole Byron Environment Centre (BEC) and the volunteer collective of environmentalists, who for over thirty years have earnestly worked for the rights of nature and the rights [and recognition of] of First Nations peoples. The BEC has a legally recognised constitution that has upheld rights and democratic principles for all the community.

My depression intensified as the threads of Council attitudes to community gathered. For example, the recent attack on Dailan Pugh who chose to educate Council on the ecology surrounding fish kills. Why did another community group CABS (Community Action Byron Shire) find their email in the spam system in Council? CABS upholds the dignity and rights of civil society. Many people who come to live in the Byron region immediately realise the huge debt we owe to Mother Nature. The community, for decades, have never stopped working for the rights of nature. Fast Buck$ holds decades of collective memory and has a right to speak! It really looks like wilful ignorance is aiding development and governance in Byron. A great shame, as dignity and consciousness is socially stripped to the lowest and darkest common denominator. Depression results.

Council does not like women speaking, or environmentalists, or civil society; it does not even note its failure to recognise the inclusive rights of First Nations peoples.

Governance does have ratified charters of applied principles. Let’s elevate the discourses. Council – you claim to be Green – use funding to educate staff in these principles. Pandemic times reveal Morrison aiding mining magnates by stripping away environmental laws. Elevate governance principles, democracy and collective rights. We give you our money. No more bloke narratives please.

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