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Byron Shire
February 1, 2023

Independent Lismore: community must be at the heart of every decision

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The Independent Lismore team – Nora Vidler-Blanksby, Geof Webb, Mayoral candidate Patrick Healey, Andrew Binns and Georgina Cohen. Photo supplied

Lismore Mayoral candidate Patrick Healey has launched his team for the December election. Mr Healey and his group are called Independent Lismore.

Mr Healey says that he and his group believe that political parties and ideology have no place in Local Government. ‘We are a group of independents who believe that the community must be at the heart of every decision your Council makes.

‘We believe Lismore City Council is lacking a vision for our community’s future that is supported by a practical, logical and non-political approach to decision making.

‘For too long, people have said Lismore has got great potential – it’s now time to reach that potential.

Mr Healey says his plan for Lismore includes looking at Development Applications and Residential and Business

Development applications, which he says in the Lismore LGA are notoriously slow.

‘To address that we will do two things – Introduce KPIs for timelines in approving applications for residential and business development applications and create a one-stop-shop designed to guide and remove the surprises in the development application process.

Mr Healey says the purpose of the one-stop-shop is to take a holistic approach that outlines the entire process for residents and businesses.

More Housing

‘Lismore has a housing shortage. We want more residential developments approved to provide housing security for our present population and to grow Lismore into the future.

‘After roughly 20 years the North Lismore Plateau development still hasn’t happened.

‘We will grow the population of Lismore through ensuring there is an increase of housing stock across all markets.

‘Increasing our population means people will be spending in our local shops, creating more local jobs, as well as growing Council’s rate base rather than imposing a huge Special Rate Variation.

‘If we are to truly progress our financial outcomes and the provision of local government services, we need to grow the population. We need to offer a greater range of housing options ranging from large residential through to medium housing density and smaller homes.

Financial management

Mr Healey says he and his team has a deep understanding of finances and want to see Lismore City Council’s finances improve. ‘We will bring greater transparency and openness to the community in how council manages its finances and make Lismore sustainable.

‘We must get the right balance between our assets, maintenance and operating costs, and our future growth. It is time to focus on the basics and getting that right. Expensive projects like the proposed $30 million Lismore Water Park with a yearly maintenance cost of $1 million must be immediately taken off the table and replaced with a renewed focus on building new suburbs to grow our ratepayer base.

Water security

Mr Healey says we must do more to secure the CBD and south Lismore from flooding. ‘At the same time, we have a ridiculous situation where we have a shortage of water. To that end, we will support the building of the Dunoon Dam over environmentally dangerous water mining or a desalination plant.’

Plan for the CBD

‘We will work with CBD business owners, the Square and the Business Chamber to develop a plan that integrates the Square with the CBD.

‘We support a 12-month rate break for any CBD business that seeks to redevelop their property especially for offices, CBD housing or shop-top apartments.

‘We will work to create a night-time economy by supporting the creative industries, hotels, restaurants and cafes.’

Climate change and sustainability

Independent Lismire believes that addressing climate change does not mean saying no to new developments or seeking new opportunities for the community. ‘New developments can be built sustainably, and we can benefit from the opportunities presented by the future of sustainable industries.’

Attracting new economic opportunities

Mr Healey says that if COVID has taught us anything, it is that good social connectivity is important and businesses can be located anywhere. ‘We should seize this as an opportunity to promote Lismore as a base for new businesses and services.

‘With our enviable lifestyle, there should be nothing to prevent anyone from wanting to establish a business and making a long-term commitment to living here.

‘We will seek to make Lismore an attractive place to invest through promoting internet and other technologies for a 21 st century economy.

The Indigenous community

Mr Healey says that thanks to our Elders, we are lucky to live in a place where the Bundjalung culture and language thrives. ‘We should nurture, celebrate and experience Bundjalung culture in all aspects of Lismore life. We will work with other organisations to build a financially sustainable Bundjalung Cultural Centre for locals and tourists.’

Health and wellbeing

‘We will promote health and wellbeing in our community. That means promoting cultural and sporting activities for maintaining our mental and physical health. We need more walking trails with historic, environmental and cultural meaning. We will actively promote the use of established facilities in our community.


Mr Healey says that one of Lismore’s great strengths is its many unique villages. ‘It is important Council works with these communities to help them develop the infrastructure, tourism and new opportunities that they want.

Patrick Healey’s 20 Questions for The Echo are here.


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  1. “We will support the building of the Dunoon Dam over environmentally dangerous water mining or a desalination plant.”
    So they have no real understanding of water security!
    “Environmentally dangerous water mining” what part is environmentally dangerous? and wouldn’t the total destruction and drowning of unique ecosystems and old growth forest for the Dam be a danger to its environment? an actual measurable danger like cutting down trees and displacing native fauna and potentially causing major flooding.
    How is Desalination with free sustainable energy a bad thing. Its essentially free fresh water and would create actual long term jobs to maintain said plant.

    Next time these questions are asked can somebody please challenge their inane answers, just a simple google search would help clarify their key policies which will effect thousands of people.

    • i think a google search would just confirm your own bias, i thought their Answer to be suitable regarding water security a Desalination plant would be an absolute abomination on the coastline of one of states highest rainfall areas and also has a high potential of being built by rate payers and then sold off to coca cola amatil in a financial crisis , pumping ground water can be an immediate remedy to water shortages but long term use and overuse can have serious environmental impacts especially so close to the coast, a dam is the most reliable long term source of community water out of all options, in an area with the highest rainfall in the state we should be building 2 more dams because the new dunoon dam should of been built 20 years ago.

      • You do know Dennis the future does not see consistently high rainfall for this area. Anyway “ independent” fakes mean NATs/libs front.same people who thought water recycling abdominal?

        • an Abomination in the sense that it is a gross misuse and a disgusting waste of resources using a technology developed for areas of high desertifcation coastal areas with zero or unsuitable ground water , the deepening of and the added reliance on ground water bores may provide short term supply with a high risk of long term environmental degredation, the dam wether youre first nation lib nat labor green independant up down left right will provide a reliable source of water for centuries to come, a new eco system will arise from the destuction of the previous, rocky creek dam has ensured the protection of the surrounding forest and the new dunoon dam with do the same.


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