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April 22, 2021

Local MP: Visitors with 4WD’s ‘sure as heck should not be on South Ballina beaches’

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Ballina Shire Council must immediately implement ‘locals-only’ permits for 4WD access on all beaches in South Ballina, local MP Tamara Smith says.

Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith. Photo Tree Faerie.

In a forthright response to the growing issue of holidaying drivers chewing up the region’s dunes, Ms Smith said it was ‘extremely disappointing’ that Crown Lands and the Council had been unable to come up with a long term solution to what was a ‘severe public safety issue’.

‘I will not stand by and wait for somebody to be hurt before action is taken and I am calling on Ballina Shire Council to introduce a permit system immediately for locals and Aboriginal members of our community only,’ Ms Smith said.

‘Ideally, Crown Lands would have resolved this by now but they have not and as it is a residential safety issue primarily and I think that Council needs to step up and be the responsible adult in this situation.

Richmond police detected a large number of 4WD vehicles on Ballina’s beaches during Operation Thor over the October long weekend.

‘The enforcement operation over the October long weekend was disturbingly insightful,’ Ms Smith said.

‘The police were on patrol only a few hours at a time over three days yet 150 vehicles were stopped for random breath tests. That’s more than 50 vehicles a day on the beach just in those short windows of time! Sorry, that is outrageous.’

‘Our beaches are for residents and visitors to enjoy walking and swimming and hand fishing and we all accept that locals may responsibly drive down to fish.

‘But driving up and down the beach and the dune bashing that we see is crazy and the sheer numbers of out-of-towners on the beach is out of control and will only increase with ‘staycations’.

Ms Smith said the environmental impacts from this type of vehicle intensity were well known, including threats to the already endangered Pied Oyster Catchers as well as the dune system, and of course impacts on Aboriginal heritage.

‘How great would it be for Jali or another local Aboriginal led enterprise to start running low key Aboriginal cultural tours along the beach.’

‘I have seen with my own eyes resident’s fences knocked down to make way for dune tracks for beach bashing.   We have nothing against people loving to drive their 4WD’s but our beaches are not 4WD Parks or tracks.’

‘There is a business opportunity for somebody in the hinterland in an appropriate setting to create a 4WD Park and tracks but it sure as heck should not be at South Ballina beaches.’


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6 COMMENTS

  1. What a sensible approach !
    Stop the visitors, and allow the locals and aboriginals to continue the devastation.
    You couldn’t make this nonsense up; you need yet another insane politician.
    Cheers, G”)

  2. Beach bashing in 4WD is ridiculous & these people are Ecological vandals be they locals or not. IF YOU NEED TO DRIVE DOWN TO THE BEACH YOU MUST HAVE VERY TINY LEGS.IF GUYS WANT TO PUT THEIR BOATS IN GO TO A CONCRETE RAMP….Indigenous tourism is a great idea & would keep bogans off the beach. I saw the results of beach bashing in Florida & it wasn’t pretty. Lots of erosion, terrified water birds trying to dry their wings & people nearly having their heads driven over on the sand.I couldn’t believe my eyes & the fact that this was allowed. Didn’t realise what an issue this was in Ballina. Good on you Tamara, Praise the Goddess we have you as our MP & not someone from the LNP. They would have a casino & 52 storey hotel on the beach. Oops ! forgot probably gas fracking as well.

  3. OMG it must have been pristine the way local looked after their backyard before those pesky visitors that supposedly prop up the local economy turned up to destroy it!
    Because locals always behave appropriately don’t they? & locals in 4WDs don’t do any damage to sensitive dune areas, & luckily the endangered pied oystercatchers attempting to nest can always tell the difference between locals and visitors.
    Sorry Tamara, locals only is a stupid idea. No-one NEEDS to drive there.

  4. Walking along as beach is an absolutely wonderful event and even if it’s only the wildlife that go there that great. If you buy 4WDs and expect to rip the sand hills and beach apart in the name of fun then you’ve made a terrible mistake . Imagine the exercise the relaxing feeling of a walk and a swim with your family. Take care of your environment.

  5. Locals only is a completely unworkable solution. Spend some money shutting the beach off to vehicles entirely. No government agency has the staff or money to enforce the law effectively or consistently.

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