13.2 C
Byron Shire
July 7, 2022

Who gets a voice?

Latest News

Value of the intangible and Suffolk Parks future

It’s hard to know what value to place on the environment – until it changes irrevocably.  A place is defined...

Other News

Road workers strike first time in decades

Road workers, construction crews and other Transport for NSW workers will walk off the job for the first time in decades on Thursday, as frustrations over the NSW Government's effective pay cut boil over.

Sport and gender

Olympic golden girl Cate Campbell claims to have wrestled long and hard with herself before passionately promoting a ban...

Will Byron become the Malibu of the antipodes?

Here’s another reason for millennials to be marching on the street. We found out last week that on census day 2021, 15 per cent of the dwellings in the Byron Shire were unoccupied (2,348 places to be precise). That figure was 30 per cent in Byron Bay itself, three times the national average. 

Destruction of Brunswick Heads mahogany

The foulest crime against the planet was committed secretly in the heart of Brunswick Heads during the pandemic lockdown....

Weaving through NAIDOC

DJ and Delta with some of the Weaving for Reconciliation exhibits. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Stone & Wood’s Brewery Festival Returns

Stone & Wood are opening the gates to their Murwillumbah brewery with the return of their ‘Murbah Open Day’,...

After my tirade (Echo 4 May), against proposed changes to the Code of Meeting Practice at Byron Shire Council, I thought I better look at the details again.

Sure enough, there was another sneaky little clause that I hadn’t noticed: the number of times a member of the public may speak during public access is to be reduced from three to two. Currently you can make one speech for or against a single item on the agenda (which is itself an unwarranted constraint), plus one general submission (two minutes), plus one question (this question is proposed now to be limited to items on the current agenda only, a provision squarely aimed at my good self).

Where do the sneaky little proposed constraints come from? What, didn’t you know that it’s the cutely named ‘Strategic Planning Workshop’ (SWP) that secretly makes all the tentative decisions these days, even on policy matters? 

So, who is the SPW? Well there’s the rub: we the proletariat are not allowed to know which councillors and which staff members participate in this workshop or what its decisions are. All we know is that whatever happened on that day will appear later as recommendations in a ‘staff report’. 

I don’t know what’s happened to transparency and accountability in the Shire. But, I would really like to know who it was that put forward these proposals. No councillor will tell you, because they’re all too dumb to realise that the proceedings of the SPW are not confidential. That is, there has been no vote by Council (as far as I know) to declare confidentiality and if there has been one I’d be curious to know what the stated reasons might be; you can’t declare confidentiality on a whim.

Of course, I’m quite certain that it’s the staff who are responsible; they’re always interfering in decision-making process. 

Your elected mushrooms are either too witless to see what’s going on, or too gutless to do anything about it. One or two of them on the other hand will support anything that staff put forward; anything to silence criticism and enhance their ambition.

Members of the public can congregate to observe a virtual meeting. These virtual meetings are happening with increasing frequency at the drop of a hat, meaning that that provision is important for democracy.

John Anderson, Coorabell 

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Where is the love?

I have lived in Mullum and the surrounding hills for 35 years.  Yesterday I drove to Upper Main Arm, to Kohinur, to visit a friend,...

Flood help information from Chinderah, and Uki to South Golden Beach

The floods in February and March are still having direct impacts on the lives of many people and Serice NSW has a trailer coming to a location near you so you can easily access flood assistance.

Weaving through NAIDOC

DJ and Delta with some of the Weaving for Reconciliation exhibits. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Management of Byron’s fragile coastline impeded by NSW government: report

Insufficient funding and guidance from the State government is inhibiting Byron Council’s attempt to effectively manage its famous but fragile coastline, a Council report has revealed.