16 C
Byron Shire
September 21, 2021

Editorial – Local leadership vacuum

Latest News

September 21: NNSWLHD COVID update and Byron-Tweed lockdown

The Northern NSW Local Health District held a press conference at Lismore Base Hospital this afternoon.

Other News

Images released of men who robbed the Byron Bowlo

Detectives investigating the armed robbery of a licensed premises in Byron Bay earlier this year, have released CCTV images and are appealing for public information that may assist their inquiries.

COVID update – sewage detection in East and South Lismore and Byron Bay

Northern NSW Local Health District is urging people in the Lismore City and Byron Bay areas to get tested for COVID-19, after fragments of the virus were detected in samples from the East Lismore, South Lismore and Byron Bay sewage treatment plants.

Queensland passes voluntary assisted dying laws

Dying with Dignity NSW has welcomed the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) laws in Queensland and is hoping that NSW Parliament resumes next month so that this issue can be addressed in NSW without further delay.

Vaccination by the mob for the mob at Tweed – No appointment needed

The local mob has come together to ensure that vaccination is available for any of the mob in the Northern Rivers who wants to get vaccinated.

Hue and cry

Seeing and hearing all the kicking and screaming about our right to choose to not put on masks takes...

New cases of COVID-19 below 1,000 for the first time in 25 days

In what is now a general press conference, the Premier spoke to media at 11am this morning about the pandemic and other business.

David Lovejoy, Echo co-founder

The delays in holding Council elections are frustrating, the more so because what we have seen during the long period since the last vote has been an experiment in governing by the zen method of no government.

The staff are professionals, councillors argued, so we should allow them to do their jobs, unfettered by community concerns about overdevelopment or environmental degradation.

Council’s Planning Department can be trusted to make the best decisions, and contending with greedy developers is a never-ending drain on our finances, so it is not worth fighting them in court.

In some ways, the experiment appears to have been successful.

Given that we are all paying twice as much in rates as we did a few years ago, there has been money to tackle potholes, warped bridges and washed-out roads, and some worthwhile projects, and some controversial ones, have been mounted.

The residents who, with their objections routinely ignored, found new buildings looming over them with views into their gardens and windows may have felt differently, ecologists who track the health of our natural systems may not agree, and perennial ratbags like Fast Buck$ will never be satisfied, but the incumbent Council can say it had a consistent policy: Don’t interfere with the smooth running of the bureaucracy.

However, running smoothly is not always running well.

Never mind the lack of planning controls attuned to community expectations, never mind the eyesores and the surrenders to wealth. Local government that is not responsive to the culture of its residents can produce painful cognitive dissonance.

As a small but telling example, just consider the tone-deafness required in a council for it to label its vehicles with the word ‘Enforcement’.

There is ‘Parking Enforcement’ for the parking inspectors; there is ‘Animal Enforcement’ for the dog catchers; and there is ‘Community Enforcement’, which elicits a WTF response from anyone not mesmerised by bureaucratic jargon.

Notoriously little power resides in the office of councillor. If the staff choose to be obstructive, they can Yes Minister the crap out of any attempt to get the things done that you were elected for. But councillors should nevertheless try to exercise some supervision, and they should have a plan for preventing the spirit of Byron Shire being buried under a crass built environment.

The departing councillors failed in these aims; indeed the majority of them did not even espouse them and spent most of their time arguing with themselves and their critics.

On top of that, the pandemic has twice extended the life of the current Council beyond what any of us can bear.

It is truly time for change.

♦ News tips are welcome: [email protected]

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. So , the answer is the fractured, fossilised Greens , I assume . Then that is a very silly question to raise.

    Another local vacuum is balanced reporting on the Councillors in The Echo .For instance ,since Simon’s resignation , I would hardly know that we actually has another Mayor , if I only read the Echo and nothing else .

    As for your final two paragraphs ..

    ” The departing councillors failed in these aims; indeed the majority of them did not even espouse them and spent most of their time arguing with themselves and their critics.
    On top of that, the pandemic has twice extended the life of the current Council beyond what any of us can bear.’ ”

    The Echo does not speak for ALL of us , just a few people , especially with wild sweeping statements like these !.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 22 September, 2021

Please check, at the end of lockdown to see whats on.

Speech pathology student numbers soar at SCU

The number of domestic applications for the undergraduate speech pathology course at Southern Cross University have increased 79 per cent compared to the same time last year.

BREAKING: Byron and Tweed shires go into week-long lockdown

Stay-at-home orders will be introduced for the Byron Shire, Tweed and Kempsey Local Government Areas (LGAs) from 5pm today for seven days due to an increased COVID-19 public health risk.

Ballina charity ball to raise funds for men’s mental health

Locals will have the chance to support local men with their mental health when the Night of Hope Charity Ball takes place in Ballina on October Ball.