16.5 C
Byron Shire
September 30, 2023

Jali Land Council accused of land grab

Latest News

Feros responds to Expression of Interest announcement

The announcement earlier today that the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, started the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for Feros Village Byron Bay has drawn a response from the Feros Care board that still sees the facility in terms of a 'closure'. 

Other News

Voice referendum

I’m really annoyed about all the things that are written and said about the referendum on October 14 which...

Feros responds to Expression of Interest announcement

The announcement earlier today that the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, started the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for Feros Village Byron Bay has drawn a response from the Feros Care board that still sees the facility in terms of a 'closure'. 

State government approves 60-day cap on short-term holiday letting in Byron

The state government has approved a new 60-day cap on non-hosted short term rental accommodation (STRA) for large parts of the Byron Shire. Most of NSW has no cap.

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr backs end to land clearing in NSW

Recognising the impacts of logging and clearing native forests former NSW Premier Bob Carr has backed ongoing calls to halt land clearing in NSW.

The ‘No’ vote

Giving Indigenous people a ‘Voice’ while simultaneously silencing Australians with the ‘Combating Misinformation and Disinformation’ Bill isn’t progression; it’s...

What is the future for Lismore Regional Gallery and Museum? Have your say

The Lismore Regional Gallery and the Lismore Museum (Richmond River Historical Society) want to hear from you. If you...

Aunty Susan Anderson says she owns the land and the houses at Cabbage Tree Island, which was passed down by her grandfather. Photo Tree Faerie

Around 80 residents of Cabbage Tree Island, just south of Wardell, say they want to return home after the 2022 floods, but the Local Aboriginal Land Council, Jali, have other ideas.

The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), including the Aboriginal Housing Office and Crown Lands, say they are supporting Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and the community of Cabbage Tree Island to determine the way forward for the land use of the island, following the catastrophic floods that inundated ‘26 homes’ on the Island.

But there is a dispute over the number of flood-damaged homes, with traditional owners, represented by Aunty Susan Anderson, claiming that only four houses sustained flood water damage inside. All the foundations, which are made of reinforced concrete and brick, are in good condition, Aunty Anderson says. She adds that this has been confirmed by the Australian Army engineers.

When The Echo visited the island in March this year, most of the homes were clearly built higher than the 2022 flood level.

The only damage that appeared to be done was by the army, who came in and ripped up carpets in all of the homes, despite them not being flooded.

On August 28 this year, a community meeting with Jali LALC was held, and a motion was carried ‘to proceed with the rebuild of 26 residential properties at 50 Bath Street, Wardell, including detailed master planning, engineering, design and construction’. This is the site of the current pod village.

Aunty Anderson says the land was purchased in the mid-1800s, and that she is the owner of the land which was passed down to her and her family by her grandfather, John Jack Cook. Aunty Susan says that after the August announcement, the Cabbage Tree Island community has been very distressed.

Distressed community

‘They told us, “We’re not going back and they’re not going to rebuild”. Everyone just burst out crying. The elders and everyone, we just got up and walked out. It’s very sad’.

‘The flood never went in all of the houses. They want the land. They tried to sell it, unknown to the community, in 2001. Their lawyers sent a letter to me asking me if I would sell it and I said, “The land is not for sale”. 

Anderson says that Jali has a 99-year lease on the land, but they certainly do not own it, and that last week the families and Elders went to the island to spend some time at home on their Country.

‘Jali kept sending the police up every day – my nephew was arrested. We just want to go back home. All of the North Coast was flooded. Everyone has moved back – Lismore, Coraki, Woodburn, Broadwater, Wardell and Ballina – you know, it’s just us! They won’t let us go back because they want the land.’

Aunty Susan says that, through her lawyers, she has an injunction to stop anything happening on the island, including the imminent demolition of the houses.

‘It just breaks my heart’, she says. ’They all want to go home, but they’re frightened to go against Jali.’

The DPE said the decision by Jali LALC and its members is based on an ‘extensive independent feasibility assessment’, and flood analysis that ‘clearly shows an unacceptably high risk of exposure on the Island to future flooding events and a real risk to human life’.

The Echo contacted The CEO of Jali LALC, Chris Binge. We are yet to get a response.

The DPE says the commencement of necessary planning and legal requirements to support the rebuild approval process will begin shortly.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. STAND STRONG AUNTY ANDERSON. This is an appalling Land Grab and totally defies Human Rights. How Capitalism devours….its never ending.!!!

  2. Very sad indeed, Jali should know how important land and home is to these people.
    No more displacement. Leave them to return to their home!!

  3. Islands are unique. Perhaps something more ecologically beneficial can be envisaged. The island will flood again and it really doesn’t matter where these people live as long as they are managed humanely and with respect.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Weed exit and smiley koalas get support

Weed and smiley koalas were on the minds of Tweed Shire Councillors and staff at last week’s council meeting.

Another wallaby death on beach prompts calls on dog owners 

A Byron local says a dead wallaby found on Belongil beach last Saturday had all the hallmarks of a dog attack, and is calling on the public to be more vigilant and for authorities to step up to help protect native wildlife.

A win for Feros Village Byron Bay residents

A whole community can expel a sigh of relief at the breaking news that months of distress and sadness can now become part of history – this morning the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, has announced that services providers for aged care are advised that Expressions of Interest (EOI) are now open for Feros Village Byron Bay.

How do you rate the media rating system?

Parents are being asked to have a say on whether Australia’s media classification system is effective in informing decisions around age-appropriate films and video games for children.