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Byron Shire
June 23, 2024

Editorial – Who’s up for reelection in Byron Shire?

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Byron Greens 2024 local government election candidates for Byron Shire Council (L-R): Michelle Lowe; Cr Sarah Ndiaye; Elia Hauge; Delta Kay PIC Eve Jeffery

Over the coming months, you, dear constituent, will be subjected to local politicians campaigning for the September 14 Council elections. 

Election time can also see an increase of activity by some councillors who have generally sat idle for the past two years. 

From left: former councillor Jeannette Martin, Mayor Michael Lyon, Dr Meredith Wray, and Cr Mark Swivel.
Photo supplied

What we know so far is that Cr Mark Swivel has snuggled up with Mayor Michael Lyon to form a new ticket.

Finally, their conservative, pro-developer political marriage is now public. Well done for coming out of the closet!

Interestingly, Cr Lyon’s media release didn’t thank the outgoing councillors who were elected on his ticket last time – Crs Sama Balson and Peter Westheimer still have a few more gruelling months to go.

Crs Alan Hunter, Cate Coorey and Duncan Dey won’t contest either, so overall, that leaves quite a few vacant seats from a total of nine. Cr Asren Pugh (Labor) says he is running again, but is yet to announce his ticket.

Cr Sarah Ndiaye (Greens) has an all-women ticket (Elia Hauge, Delta Kay, and Michelle Lowe) and wants to be mayor. 

As the page 11 story explains, both current mayoral candidates were protégés to former mayor, Simon Richardson, and predictably say their appointment of him to the Northern Rivers Planning Panel was sound. Was it?

Other than Cr Ndiaye’s newfound interest in protecting Wallum, Crs Ndiaye and Lyon’s voting patterns have been very similar over the past eight years.

So after eight years, it’s clear what both have to offer. 

Here’s some positives: there are some promising policies in place. One is the affordable housing contribution scheme, which puts land aside for new greenfield sites. The other is a land trust model, which is still to be implemented. 

There’s also been holiday letting reform, yet the price for state government support appears to have been proposing floodplain development, through Council’s much-criticised housing strategy. 

The question is whether those seeking reelection are making this a better place to live. 

Have they been future-proofing the Shire from the next big climate event? Are the roads and public toilets improving? Do they do everything they can to be transparent and honest? Do they put the interests of executive Council staff ahead of residents?  

Has there been any structural organisational reform or improved environmental polices? Do they listen well? Or not? 

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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  1. It seems that, with Mark Swivel having “snuggled up with Mayor Michael Lyon” he isn’t the only one. There seems to be 50% of the Greens ticket here from two elections ago.

    Is there a title shot here at the Mayor the mayor’s manners? He didn’t thank those on his last ticket? I think his reported advice to “get your own house in order” is pertinent here with a couple of politicians in our area owed apologies by the Echo. However I haven’t seen any grace these pages.

    Thanks for giving us the heads up on what we should be asking Hans – we punters being too stupid otherwise – but I’m a bit surprised you’ve borrowed from Peter Dutton’s handbook. Are those seeking re-election “making this a better place to live”?
    Like … what have they done in two years (given pandemic election suspensions) to deal with any legacies of the previous four-year, Greens dominated Council?

    No let’s blame them for everything that’s bugging us, toss them all out (except Cr Ndiaye?) and vote for that nice prominent photo of people at the top of the page.

    Very interesting juxtaposition here, Echo. You’re making it way too easy for us media bias deconstructionists – no fun!

  2. “Over the coming months, you, dear constituent, will be subjected to local politicians campaigning for the September 14 Council elections.”

    That’s fine by me.

    It’s the opinionated articles from The Echo that I will be subjected to are the problem!


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