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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

A New Year’s revolution

Latest News

Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

The Iron Gates development, that is on flood- and fire-prone land near Evans Head, has been fought by the community for over 30 years. The current company that owns the site, Goldcoral Pty Ltd whose director is Graeme Ingles, has now been placed into administration.

Other News

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Better outcomes start with teachers who believe in inclusive education

For all students – particularly those with additional needs – a teacher who doesn't believe in inclusive education can be harmful.

A big month in the House

Back by popular demand is the Moontide Ensemble in their farewell show before heading overseas. The Moontide Ensemble returns to the Brunswick Picture House to perform their highly regarded audiovisual show. 

Interview with Steve Earle

Steve Earle is not a fluffball of peace, light and unicorns, though he wears his heart on his sleeve – and his jacket and his jeans. It can get messy. And at 68 his work isn’t getting any fluffier. Husband to six wives (one twice-married) and with three sons (his firstborn, Justin Towns Earle, died tragically in 2020), telling it like it is, both personally and professionally makes his work some of the most important in modern music history – Seven recently spoke to Steve at home in New York about life and his preparations for Bluesfest.

Sydney’s hottest men in their brand-new show – live on stage at Mullum Ex-services

Welcome to the best hen’s night, bachelorette party or ultimate Girls’ night out. Get frocked up and come out for a girl’s night out, with strippers from London, Vegas, Rio, Barcelona, and Sydney. The current Sydney Hotshots show includes some of the sexiest men on stage.

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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Far North Coast branch of NSW Farmers launches

The new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch, that will be representing farmers from the Tweed and Byron Shires, launched yesterday.

New Lismore refugee support group starting up

A local group from the Lismore area, the Lismore Region Refugee Settlement (LRRS), have come together to support refugees settling in the area. 

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Flood rebuilds hampered by ‘like-for-like’ insurance clause

Attempts by flood-affected homeowners to retrofit their homes with flood-resilient materials are being cruelled by insurance companies and builders, a local resident says.