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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Editorial: Quick, someone else grab the policy lever

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With 2022 wrapping up, there will hopefully be some much-needed time for everyone to pause and reflect on the year, and to take time out to do what’s most important – spending time with friends and family. 

What’s also important is spending time in nature. 

This region, and Byron Shire in particular, is lucky to be home to some of the most unique biodiverse flora and fauna in the nation.  

This was recently outlined by a report to Council titled Byron Wildlife Corridor System 2022. 

The authors, Landmark Ecological Services, found 27 major and 26 minor corridor connectors in the Shire, in combination with the network of riparian buffers. 

According to the report, this Shire is recognised as being home to endemic species, which are those ‘with restricted and/or patchy distributions and species most at risk from processes that threaten their long-term viability’. 

The greatest risk to these species, according to the report, are ‘habitat loss, fragmentation and isolation caused by vegetation clearing, and habitat degradation’. 

The Shire’s natural environment is estimated to have ‘maintained [a] relatively stable rainforest habitat over at least the last 120,000 years, and the rainforest species often have ancestry going back to the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana’.

With such precious lands to manage, it’s important that awareness of all this drives decision-making and future planning. 

It’s not just up to individual landowners to be conscious of our environmental credentials; those who create and enact policy – Council and the NSW government need to lead on this front. 

Open, transparent governance is needed more than ever, because as powerful entities, they set the tone.

Yet as we have seen over the nine years of the NSW Liberal-Nationals government, they have shown little regard for the natural environment. 

It’s been treated as an endless resource to be trashed by the highest bidder. Planning powers have been systematically taken away from locally elected councils, and a Sydney-centric vision placed upon us. 

It happened again this week around the housing shortage, when the NSW government told Council it would not honour its agreement on holiday letting, and instead asked a planning body to intervene, to presumably make a decision that the government wants.

Is this government telling this electorate that it won’t win this seat back in a hurry? 

All the issues that have led to a national shortage in housing stock, particularly affordable and social housing, land squarely at the feet of the NSW and federal Liberal-Nationals governments. 

The policy levers – negative gearing and the like – are pointed at those who already own homes. 

In many cases, a lot of homes. 

It’s time the levers are handed to those who understand society is a complex mix of human endeavours, and not just speculating property investors.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

 

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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4 COMMENTS

  1. The existence of the levers has caused most problems. Flip them the other way and you will simply get a new set of problems.

  2. Life …. It’s a dogs’s life really, and with pace and speed we come to a halt as we pull up and slow and slowly we come to the end of the year and there is nothing to do but to stuff yourself with plum pudding, champagne and beer. Cheers to you and yours as your mind wanders and then you wonder what you have been doing with your career for at the end of the year you have a big mortgage and bills and debt up to your ears.
    Times has raced past and you think of the past, and that bonding time is needed with those of your blood, skin and heritage, and for your kin in your brothers, sisters, and of your father and mother and uncle and friends and you hug and look into the faces around you to get to know your family’s
    idiosyncrasies, foibles, frills and their frivolity and some deadly serious facts about them in the face of adversity in the floods and why uncle Dan never made it home this year. Turn to family and learn their strength and the tissues that make your family as you see them eye to eye and the tears that have flooded their face for nothing is stronger than family.
    There is no better place to feel that feeling of the heart than in the expanse of nature and to look back at your family and the family tree. Little Tommy has so much of your eyes. “Oh no he doesn’t but he has my nose.”
    That is the way a family slowly, slowly grows. Have a good Christmas, we hope it is not your last?

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