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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Editorial – Council restart and the most unsafe house in the nation 

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Getting ready for the 24/25 bush fire season

With this year’s official NSW Bush Fire Danger Period closing on March 21, our thoughts are now turned toward to 2024-25 season and Essential Energy has begun surveying its powerlines in and around the North Coast region.

Keeping watch on Tyalgum Road

Residents keen to stay up to date on the status of the temporary track at Tyalgum Road – particularly during significant rain events – are urged to sign up to a new SMS alert system launched by Tweed Shire Council.

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A fresh restart for Council?

With votes for the local elections still being tallied, there’s some reasonable guessing as to who will be in power for the next two-and-a-half years.

There are many hot topics facing the new councillors – apart from the uncertainty around virus restrictions.

First, there is the nebulous concept of affordable housing, which is potentially a Trojan horse for large-scale development that will offer no affordable housing.

Will liberating endless open spaces achieve affordable housing? It’s actually social housing that is affordable.

Planning instruments (legislation) may say ‘affordable’, but the affordability metrics bear no relationship to what is affordable in Byron Shire.

Another pressure is holiday letting.

As observed on page 8, the requested 90-day a year cap for the Shire looks off the table because unaccountable Sydney-based planning bureaucrats say so.

And that comes to the pointy end of politics – horse trading and negotiations.

Take Byron Bay’s diminishing coastline as an example. Council staff have said, via reports, that they are basically being ignored by the NSW planning department over how to move forward on that important issue.

Good luck to the new elected councillors, and returning ones.

Dealing with recalcitrant bureaucrats and politicians, and large inappropriate DAs, requires fortitude and resilience. 

Cartoon by Alister Lockheart www.alisterlockheart.com

The most unsafe house in the nation 

Parliament’s final sitting week of 2021 was marked by the political retirement of Christian Porter (Liberal) and the ‘standing aside’ of fellow Liberal MP Alan Tudge.

Accusations of sexual abuse and rape surround the two. 

A report was also coincidently released by sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, into the workplace culture of Parliament House. 

The findings? The place is really quite rapey and unsafe for women. 

The report found that 51 per cent of workers in Parliament have experienced ‘at least one incident of bullying, sexual harassment or actual or attempted sexual assault’, and 77 per cent have witnessed, or are aware of at least one incident. 

If this were to happen under any other government, at any other time in history, there would be immediate action. And resignations. Or at least there would be the illusion of action. 

But this is the Morrison government!

Instead, the PM is trying to woo the former – and disgraced – NSW Premier Gladys to run for Federal Parliament. Presumably it’s because there’s no ICAC there that she could get entangled in.

A lack of a federal ICAC is how Christian Porter gets away without any investigation into his $1m ‘blind trust’ that was established anonymously to defend his rape allegations. Instead, he keeps his huge parliamentary pension for life. Scott free!

While the PM is criticised for being lazy (he is), and his lack of any achievement (there are none) his focus, of course, is re-election. 

The vote that he needs is the working class male who might vote Labor. That’s why the PM was at the Bathurst 1000 race the other day, with dutiful media in tow.

Quietly in the background, education and health service standards are falling, and wages have stagnated for the middle and impoverished classes. There is no credible plan to address climate change.

And for ten years, The Liberal and National Parties have systematically dismantled institutions that provide oversight, education and trust.

The ABC and CSIRO are just two notable institutions affected.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media glibly ‘reports’ on the PM’s latest curry or chook house build. He even had TV camera crews attend his last haircut.

This is what the decline of democracy looks like – whatever will take its place?

♦ News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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1 COMMENT

  1. End of democracy Echo ..? With respect
    Need for the reminder or do i need to
    Remind the ABC that it was infact the Coalition that won the last election
    Therefore the majority of the population
    Voted as such correct ? So why is it that
    By all accounts the ABC are conservative free
    on the public broadcaster ? Is that the wishes of the majority that voted for them ?
    Echo is this not the decline of democracy?
    One would assume so !! Christian Porter gets away without a investigation regarding
    the donation for his legal costs ?..do i think
    He should have declared who donated ?
    100 % he should have …and so should have
    Louise Milligan you know the ABC impartial
    Journalist who cost the taxpayer’s 750k
    For her personal vendetta against Porter
    But this was not possible to declare who the donations came from is it ? Because she
    Did not know either did she ? So the hypocrisy is Overwhelming is it not !!
    In the washup could not give a shit who wins
    The election over both major parties..
    Including the the greens ..
    Merry Christmas to the Echo team for the wonderful tireless work they do for the
    Community and all that i debate and agree
    With .. yes Stefanie & Joachim and keith
    May you all have a happy and healthy
    New Year ..!! 🙏

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Keeping watch on Tyalgum Road

Residents keen to stay up to date on the status of the temporary track at Tyalgum Road – particularly during significant rain events – are urged to sign up to a new SMS alert system launched by Tweed Shire Council.

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