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Byron Shire
December 5, 2022

Editorial – Don ya toga and let’s start this party!

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If you were born in 100BC, the same year as Julius Caesar, the politically ambitious had to follow the Cursus Honorum, which was a hierarchy of rotating, elected offices. It started with military service, and after that, you could progress up the chain, depending on your class, as either a patrician or plebeian. Patricians were nobility, and the ‘plebs’ were the the rest, except for the slaves of course. Eventually, at the ripe old age of 40, you could become an all powerful consul. So – who are the modern day patricians and plebs within Byron Shire Council?

The wheels of commerce and governance, indistinguishable as they perhaps always have been, again cranked into gear at the local level last Thursday. 

Councillors and executive staff assembled into a small room in Mullumbimby, and discussed and voted upon things that most residents will likely feel the impacts of, yet somehow not be fully across.

While the public can still address Council in person during public access, observers of the meeting have been unable to participate since the March floods damaged the chambers. The public can only sit on a computer and listen via a live stream until the chambers reopen some time next year.  

The disadvantage of the live stream is that it is unclear who speaks, unless you have made the effort to know the voice of the actors involved. Worse still is that the motions that are put up on the screen are not displayed in their entirety. 

Are we well governed by those with our best interests at heart?

Anyway, a lot was voted upon, and here are three items of interest:

Council endorsed the Draft Community Engagement Strategy and it will be on public exhibition for 28 days. A project reference group will be established to consult on the Annual Community Awards Ceremony, which replaces the Australia Day Awards, and will be held during Local Government Week (August 1-7). 

As for Council’s drainage capital works budget, Council have recognised ‘the lack of overland flow routes in many of the Shire’s urban areas, often served only by underground pipes to carry local stormwater’ and will consider, ‘through this year’s September Budget Review, adding $300,000 to Drainage Capital Works and notes this may have to come from other important activities’. The full agenda and minutes are available at www.byron.nsw.gov.au.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

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  1. You and I must be the majority of viewers who watch council meeting online .

    I assume that you do watch and just not listen to it online ? ( Actually , I know the answer because you have mentioned it before. )

    Whoever , I completely fail to see what relevance your whinge has to do with the final sentence in your history lesson .

    Specifically , “So – who are the modern day patricians and plebs within Byron Shire Council?”

    Did you forget the whole point of your article as you went along ?

    • Also you left out the “Equites” from this Roman history . The Equestrians were not as rich as the Patricians but did own land, forming a very important role at the second level.

      Byron’s Patricians own the expensive properties in Byron and generally are considered southern blow-ins.

      The plebs in Byron don’t own any real estate .

      Whereas the Councillors are probably a mixture of Plebs and Equites .

      There , fixed your Article !


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