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Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

A new clear vision for Australia?

Latest News

We need to reinvent urban spaces to live in harmony with the planet 

Travel is about visiting someplace exotic, we’re told. Somewhere that looks, feels and tastes different, in a way that stirs our heart and stimulates our senses. But sit in the central business district of any global city today, and chances are it will look basically the same.

Other News

Ballina mayor vies for second term ‘leading the rebuild’

Ballina Shire’s mayoral race this September looks to be a competition between two women, one progressive, the other conservative, after both candidates announced campaigns last week.


As a 65 year-old man, it should be illegal for me to vote. Start at 18 finish at 65,...

Tweed boating trip turns fatal

A boating venture on the Tweed River ended in tragedy on Saturday when the vessel capsized and a passenger died.


I have lived in Byron Shire most of my life and my family, my children and I highly value...

Fingal residents celebrate Cubby Bakehouse backdown over illegal development

The illegal development of the Fingal General Store into a commercial bakery was ended on Tuesday when Cubby’s development application (DA) was modified to remove the commercial bakery.

72 house-raises and retrofits announced  

Seventy-two homeowners in the Ballina electorate will receive government funding to raise and retrofit their flood-affected homes, says local NSW Greens MP, Tamara Smith. 

We’re well and truly in election mode.

There’s a blizzard of advertisements full of lies saturating our media.

There’s an urgent need for truth in political advertising legislation, but it’s hardly likely to be proposed by either major party.

Neither will the major parties stop accepting massive donations from dodgy corporations, many of whom depend on destruction of the natural world for their revenue. Talk about a conflict of interest!

The coming election, which looks likely to be months earlier than May next year judging by the frenzy of activity on social media, may indeed be about Australia’s energy future, as declared by Anthony Albanese.

On the face of it, Peter Dutton has blundered appallingly.

He has decided where his nuclear reactors will be sited and communities surrounding them won’t have veto rights. Not only that, but the sites will also be acquired compulsorily. He would also need to repeal federal and state legislation prohibiting nuclear energy.

How on earth would he achieve that? It’s very unlikely, even if he does win the next election, that he will control the Senate and may have to try to govern as a minority government in both houses.

Giant cost blowouts, inordinate delays and bribery scandals have plagued attempts to build reactors overseas.

Experts are now calculating the Coalition’s proposal to build seven nuclear reactors could cost us as much as $600 billion and supply a mere 3.7 per cent of Australia’s energy mix by 2050.

Labor MPs have been trivialising this vexed issue by posting three-eyed koala and Blinky fish memes on social media.

The average person already realises the nuclear power proposal is a pipe dream, and just a way to avoid having to approve far more cost-effective renewable energy developments, so vigorously opposed by the National Party.

Meanwhile, Anthony Albanese is posting how all Australians will get a tax cut on July 1, forgetting that people on the pitiful JobSeeker allowance won’t be getting an extra brass razoo. As rents and food costs rise remorselessly, job seekers are still stuck cruelly $200 a week below the poverty line. Maybe the PM thinks they’re hardly likely to vote for Peter Dutton and can afford to ignore their plight?

All this political skirmishing is just a distraction from real day-to-day problems faced by Australians.

Increasingly frugal

People are becoming increasingly frugal in their purchases. How to budget within one’s means is becoming something of an art. Op shopping is more popular than ever.

This frugality feeds on itself and gradually has an effect on the broader economy. As people tighten their belts, retail sales drop and some shops become less viable. The entire economy tightens. This is already becoming noticeable.

The economy is driven by sentiment. When people are feeling secure and well off, they spend money. When they’re insecure, they spend less and the economy suffers. It’s a bit like the sea anemone effect. One touch of a tentacle and they all withdraw.

The economy is also impacted by world events too. The ongoing tragedies of Gaza, Ukraine and Sudan, and the threat of an all-out war with Lebanon, are exceedingly traumatising and destabilising, including for Australians half a world away.

It’s not possible to close our minds and hearts to the horror of it all.

Adding to these tragedies, the increasing shock events from a heating world and the ongoing loss of species and destruction of jobs demonstrate starkly that we are not living in normal times. Who wasn’t aghast at the heat-caused deaths of more than a thousand pilgrims at this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia?

Nevertheless, amidst all this doom and gloom there are green shoots starting to emerge.

The European Parliament has adopted a nature restoration regulation that will require member states to restore at least 20 per cent of land and sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. Member states will have to restore at least 25,000kms of free-flowing rivers and plant an additional three billion trees.

In London last Saturday, more than 350 environment groups joined under the banner Restore Nature Now, and marched demanding urgent action by the government to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

The outgoing Tory government promised to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030, but only three per cent is protected. They look like losing in a landslide.

Here in Australia, Tanya Plibersek will introduce legislation to create a federal Environment Protection Agency (EPA) with wide-ranging powers and stiff penalties for offenders.

Locally, Linda Sparrow of Bangalow Koalas is on track to plant half a million koala and rainforest trees. The wonderful efforts of her organisation are receiving global attention.

Amidst all this hullabaloo about nuclear versus renewables, ordinary people are going about their daily lives and making an actual difference.

♦ Richard Jones is a former NSW MLC and is now a ceramicist.

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  1. I fo not support the desecration of our bushland flora and fauna to install windmills and solar panels.How much has these renewables cost since they started the manufacture and installation of same. No doubt would be in the billions . How much of the money is going overseas from these renewables. I agree with peter Dutton get nuclear like the majority of overseas countries and stop the desecration of our bush flora and fauna if there is anything left after Bowen Albo and the Green have there way

    • So the Tories are suddenly greenies, really save us the tears on duttons cynical “ policy”. You do know, I’m sure Sydney will be happy the Lithgow proposal is in their water catchment. Next wind turbines kill whales. So your worried about billions( not trillions) as put up by the noalition wait to see if they really publish the cost of these nuclear power stations( including cost of waste storage- a whole lot more than one coke can, and the cost of decommissioning) all thanks to comrade Dutton and obrien.

  2. Then we discover the greens are siding with the noalition to scuttle/delaythe latest housing plan. Just wasting the effort and enabling the noalition to gain momentum for the next election. Sounds familiar to what happened with carbon emissions targets with Rudd and how it led to 10 years of do nothing government. Well done the greens.

    • And what happened with the HAFF. Not to mention teaming up with the Nats to ensure continued access to vapes. I wonder what Dr Bob Brown is making of that. Quite the party they’ve become.

      It’s a bit of a challenge for Labor when it’s in the interests of both sides to see their programs fail. “Canons to the right of them, canons to the (nominal) left of them …”

      • The HAFF, in original form, another ALP policy miss that needed the Greens to tidy it up and in the process the Greens got more funding – $’s3billions – for housing.
        Thank you Greens, keep the great work coming!

        • Tell that to the people affected by waiting an extra six months for projects to start.
          Why would you want to put 3 billion more into “a gamble with taxpayers’ money and a supposed totally inappropriate instrument? 🤔

          Then there’s the “built to rent” and the “help to buy” . There’s certainly a pattern here!

          • Lizardbreath, newsflash just for you, the extra $3billions the Greens achieved is separate to the $’sHAFF.
            And please tell us more about the ALP’s wanting people to be kept hanging by not allocating money directly from the Budget and instead waiting for the HAFF to turn a profit before spending a single cent.
            OMG, ALP wouldn’t try that on would they now. Thank dog, the Greens on the case to tidy things up.

    • Rod, on Rudd aborting his CPRS, instead of following the ALP’s worn out and discredited attempted re-writing of history, try acquainting yourself with what happened at the time.

  3. Mr Cook seriously, your sudden conversion to a fully fledged echo-warrior is truly amazing, are we to assume that you are completely opposed to clearing just enough native vegetation to allow for the instillation of cheap energy producing and non-polluting wind turbines, solar farms and their corresponding transmission lines, and are instead in favour of the introduction of highly expensive and potentially dangerous nuclear reactors and their highly toxic waste. Mr Cook you and gullible people like you are being coned, Peter Dutton does not really have a nuclear policy, all he has is a policy to get re-elected and by pushing this brain-fart he is only going to blow himself up.


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Regen Ag program on offer

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Editorial – Bloatcorp under review

Those familiar with the NSW Reconstruction Authority, the agency tasked with flood recovery for the north coast (and disaster recovery for NSW), may be heartened to know that a review is underway of the Act that governs the government-run corporation.

BayFM lands major grant 

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Ballina mayor vies for second term ‘leading the rebuild’

Ballina Shire’s mayoral race this September looks to be a competition between two women, one progressive, the other conservative, after both candidates announced campaigns last week.