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Byron Shire
October 18, 2021

Where’s my gong?

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Another Australia Day has come and gone and still I’ve received no gong! After more than eight years attending nearly every Council meeting to deliver my recommendations, you’d reckon I’d at least get acknowledgement for persistence, eh?

So a few months ago Cr Hunter finally cracked and asked me what I thought I’d achieved as a result of all my input. ‘Absolutely nothing’, I replied without hesitation. That put him in his place. I might have added that other speakers even more polite and insightful than my good self have also complained of being routinely ignored. This is a Council that deals with inconvenient information by not dealing with it.

So while I’ve complained, again and again, about Council staff favouring certain developers in terms of ignoring relevant law and process, I find myself at the pointy end of the most nit-picking requirements imaginable. I’m trying to get Stage Two of my Community Title Development through Council and one of the requirements was that I ensure that electricity and telephone connections are made available to the subdivided lots. Okay, so the poles, wires and transformers were installed months ago (at a cost of $130,000) after Essential Energy gave a certificate of acceptance of the arrangements.

Not good enough apparently; what I must supply is a ‘Notice of Arrangement’, for which Essential Energy charge $360. The contractors who built the infrastructure said that other councils are satisfied with what’s already been submitted, but not our (selectively) purist Council staff.

Similar story with Telstra. I’ve submitted a ‘Telecommunications Agreement Advice’ letter, which is acceptable to other councils but not to our purists, who want instead a ‘Network Infrastructure Provisioning’ letter from Telstra. The relevant telephone lines and pits were installed well before Christmas, so once again we satisfied the intent of the requirements, but Council is holding out for nitpicks.

It’s little wonder that people do things without getting development consent, isn’t it? It’s the hypocrisy that does it.


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