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Byron Shire
February 23, 2024

A New Year’s revolution

Latest News

An adventure of a different kind

Two years ago adventurer Emma Scattergood discovered that a journey doesn’t always involve travel. In 2022, Emma was told she had stage 3 invasive lobular breast cancer. 

Other News

Small breweries feeling the pinch

Like many small businesses doing it tough, local independent breweries are no exception. The number of small to medium-sized independent craft breweries falling into administration is growing.

Lorikeets on the mend as paralysis season eases

A poorly-understood phenomenon where lorikeets in the region becoming paralysed and unable to fly is thankfully coming to an end for 2024, says WIRES wildlife vet, Dr Tania Bishop.

Delivering employment pathways for diverse women

Local organisations in the Lismore electorate can now apply for funding for programs that empower women from diverse backgrounds to thrive in the workforce.

Wallum vote

Lyon, Swivel, Pugh and Hunter voted on Thursday to let the bulldozers in and destroy Wallum. The Byron electorate...

Wallum update: protectors at the ready

The fight to save the Wallum heathland in Brunswick Heads has gone into overdrive, with dozens of locals staunchly holding the line on-site, while thousands more lobby state and federal politicians in pursuit of permanent protection.

Man charged after dramatic hinterland police chase

A dramatic police chase from highway to hinterland bush in the early hours of the morning has led to the expected court appearance of a 26-year-old man today.

The year of the Water Rabbit starts on January 22.

The rabbit is a symbol of long life, peace and prosperity. It’s a year of hope.

Despite the Chinese government changing its policy overnight from Zero Covid to ‘Covid for All’, we hope the pandemic will be well and truly behind us this year, and that another variant won’t emerge.

We simply don’t have time to be preoccupied with the virus. We have work to do, to transition rapidly from fossil fuels to renewables and to rewild vast areas of the planet.

There are good signs. The Biden administration has just finalised regulations to protect hundreds of thousands of streams, wetlands and other waterways, undoing Trump era rules that allowed so much damage and pollution to occur.

At the 2022 UN biodiversity conference, a landmark agreement was reached to protect at least 30 per cent of the planet’s land and inland waters, nearly doubling the current areas protected.

Brazil’s new president, Lula da Silva, has appointed well known Amazon defenders, Marina Silva and Sonia Guajajara, as ministers in his new government. 

Silva will return as environment minister, and Guajajara will be the first ever minister for Indigenous peoples. Outgoing far right president Bolsonaro was disastrous for the Amazon.

Here in Australia, years of environmental and social neglect are gradually, too gradually for many, being rectified by the Albanese Labor government. We now have a government that takes the climate crisis seriously, even though approval is still being given for new fossil fuel projects.

Federal and state governments need to work much harder to accelerate the changes so urgently required.

What can we do as individuals to make governments move faster?

We can and should lobby our local members, federal and state, and insist they work harder on our behalf to achieve faster action on the climate crisis, housing, wealth inequality and other pressing issues.

They are not there to represent political parties. They are there to represent you. We need to constantly remind them.

State election coming

We have a state election coming up on Saturday March 25. Someone commented they wanted to see an end to government by men in grey suits clutching bibles!

While Liberal MP Matt Kean and Premier Dominic Perrottet are desperately trying to show they care about people made homeless by flooding, koalas and the climate crisis, what have they actually achieved?

How many ruined homes have been bought back? How many families are still living in temporary accommodation? Have they ended the logging of wildlife habitat?

The Liberal Party has imploded and it’s all their own doing.

The premier pleads for more female candidates, but party branches stacked with older conservative men keep overlooking competent women and electing men to stand in what used to be safe seats. Thanks to Independents, there is really no such thing as a safe seat today.

The truth is the Liberal Party does not represent the diverse culture of today’s Australia.

The upcoming state election is not looking good for them. Two recent polls give Labor a significant lead, though they are still dependent on preferences from Greens, Animal Justice Party and others. Because directing your preferences is optional in state elections, it’s harder to predict the result from polling.

At the local level, Linda Sparrow’s Bangalow Koalas are aiming to plant 90,000 trees in 2023. Linda has a mission to plant 500,000 by the end of 2025. These are not only koala trees but rainforest species suited to this environment. Linda has proved an inspiration to other groups and her successful model is being replicated around the country. She demonstrates what an individual can do with sheer determination, grit, and financial support.

Heartbreaking floods early last year devastated so many, but they also showed how a community working as an anarchic team can look after each other when government agencies are not up to the task. We need to maintain this loving community spirit and look after each other on a continuing basis, especially now we know how ‘the authorities’ can sometimes fail us in a crisis.

We need a revolution from the ground up. The beginnings of that are evident with the success of so many ‘teal’ Independents in the federal election.

These talented women, with no experience in politics, are determined to be part of creating change. When Independents are elected, they tend to keep those seats. Why?

They don’t have to toe the party line. They’re not shackled by ideology. They don’t receive donations from the fossil fuel corporations, or the gambling and alcohol industries, unlike the major parties.

They are recognised as authentic community representatives and beholden to no one except their electorate. 

Working together as a community, we can bring about very significant changes.

Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Let’s hop to it!

♦ Richard Jones is a former NSW MP and is now a ceramist.


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Police confirm two babies dead on February 11 in Mullumbimby

NSW Police have confirmed that at about 2am Sunday 11 February, emergency services were called to a home in Mullumbimby following reports of a concern for welfare.

Just what the doctor and nurses and midwives ordered

It seems like nurses and midwives are always struggling under the weight of poor patient-to-staff ratios. It is hoped that an influx of new workers could help ease the load. This will be a welcome relief for local staff.

Affordable housing summit next week

As the affordable housing issue shows no signs of easing in the near future, key figures in the housing, property, and finance sectors will come together to tackle the country’s housing challenges at the ninth Affordable Housing Development & Investment Summit

Lorikeets on the mend as paralysis season eases

A poorly-understood phenomenon where lorikeets in the region becoming paralysed and unable to fly is thankfully coming to an end for 2024, says WIRES wildlife vet, Dr Tania Bishop.