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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Dirawong Reserve: Crown Lands responds to former board’s concerns

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Dirawong Reserve. Photo Richard Gates

Crown Lands have responded to the concerns raised by Evans Heads locals and former members of the Dirawong Reserve Land Management Board around the process of board applications and appointments.

‘Board applications for the Dirawong Reserve Land Management Board were open to the community and advertised, as occurs with all Crown reserves. Board applications are submitted through the reserve manager portal: Board vacancies (nsw.gov.au),’ said a spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE).

Dirawong Reserve. Photo Dr Richard Gates

‘Applications were open from 8 May to 31 August and advertised in the Northern Rivers Times newspaper and the NSW Government Boards and Committees Register. A copy of the advertisement was also sent to Richmond Valley Council, the Native Title Services Corporation and Local Aboriginal Land Councils for inclusion in their community notices.’

The original application period was closed on 16 June 2023. Image supplied

However, it is the date of applications being open that was originally raised by locals who pointed out that the original application period was closed on 16 June, 2023, (the past board appointments ended on 8 August). Following this, board applications were reopened until yesterday, 31 August, despite the fact that there were at least six qualified applicants for the four board positions in the first round of applications. 

Existing board members and applicants from the first round of applications were not informed by Crown Lands that the application process had been reopened or whether their original applications would be carried into the second round.

Dirawong Reserve. Photo Richard Gates

Bandjalang on the board

Crown Lands have told The Echo that ‘The Native Title holders the Bandjalang People have submitted an expression of interest to be part of the board’.

Former board members have said they were told that it was this late expression of interest that had delayed the board’s five-year appointment prior to the ending of the previous term on 8 August. As a result of the delay Mr Silas Sutherland, Area Manager, North Coast, Crown Lands, Department of Planning and Environment was appointed as administrator for the 364ha Dirawong Reserve site for a six-month period.

Dirawong Reserve. Photo Richard Gates

The Echo asked the DoPE how the Bandjalang people’s representatives would be incorporated into the board’s management structure, for example, if there would be any extra positions on the board for representatives of the Bandjalang Corporation and the process followed to do this. There was no direct response to this question from the DoPE. 

A spokesperson for DoPE told The Echo that, ‘Following interviews, the department will look to appoint a diverse board that is representative of the community.’


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1 COMMENT

  1. I don’t agree with Bandjalang Directors..and/or with crown lands..Dirrwong should be hand over to the Traditional owners..ASAP…Bandjalang people..we have Native Title over all crown lands and National parks in the Evans Head/Broadwater boundaries…Bandjalang grow a backbone and demand Native title rights over the lands..

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