How Green is that Paper?
Environmental worriers and warriors have been critical of the NSW government’s Green Paper so far, which aims to overhaul town, rural and city planning.
But let’s just pause and look at the state government’s own propaganda. Its website’s statements include ‘promoting a “can do” culture’ and ‘reducing red tape and delay’... and so on.
Despite the motherhood claims of transparency and efficiency, it also claims to have ‘community consultation at the forefront of planning decisions’.
And the 30-year-old planning document needs to be revised, according to www.planning.nsw.gov.au, as the ‘legislation has been modified over 150 times’.
Okay, fair enough. But here’s what the paper says about streamlining development: ‘To depoliticise decision making, it is proposed that development applications be streamed
to appropriate independent and expert decision makers. State and regional scale development will be assessed by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) and the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). One option being considered by the
NSW government is for local level development applications to be considered by an independent expert panel... There will be targets set for timeframes for different types of assessment and the achievement of these targets will be monitored and reported, with implications for poor or inefficient decision making.’
The state government is disingenuous to say that community consultation will be at the forefront of planning decisions.
Its stated aims are to take away a community’s right to decide state and regional scale development.
Despite public feedback being now closed, NSW councils have their chance to have input until October 5. Hopefully councils across the state will apply what little wedge they can to resist innapropriate developments that the state plans to enforce in the name of economic rationalism.
Seeds of corporatism
Mention Monsanto and most would be aware of the chemical company’s flagship product Roundup, and its pushing of genetically engineered (GE) seeds onto farmers and big agriculture.
But the company has its supporters, such as Bill Gates, who claim that seed engineering can address food, land and water shortages while the global population keeps on booming.
Former head of the United Nations World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, is also a fan, says www.economist.com. Is it really a potential saviour in the climate-change age?
Unlikely. Something to be suspicious of is its push, via the US government, of its GE seed onto countries that don’t want or need it. According to www.guardian.co.uk, ‘The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.’
The report in January 2011 adds that in other released WikiLeaks cables, ‘US diplomats around the world are found to have pushed GM crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative.’
The extent to which Monsanto pursues unethical behaviour demonstrates that it does not act in the interest of the human species. This is shown in its poisoning of the entire town of Nitro in West Virginia, where it produced Agent Orange. Like all corporations devoid of social responsibility it only exists to maximise profits.
The poisonous 40-year legacy of Monsanto will be getting an airing in Mullumbimby, and this co-incides with events being held internationally.
Activities will be held in four different venues around town, and kick off with a sign-making day on Tuesday September 11 at the Mullumbimby Community Garden from 10am.
Documentaries, organic food and talks are all planned, ending with a street march on Saturday, September 15.
For more visit www.occupymonsanto360.org or email email@example.com.
Give it up for the state
A major election issue for The Echo was Council’s failure with the tendering process.
Regulating commercial use of public spaces to ourselves, be it beaches or market sites, should not be an impossible feat.
It should allow established businesses to operate and not be bumped by cost. It should foster localisation where possible. This fault rests entirely with Council, both staff and councillors, not the businsesses who gave a ‘blind bid’ in the surf school tender process. There is little doubt staff and the outgoing/returning councillors have the knowledge to solve this, but the message is still muddled, which indicates confusion. And the result is inaction, which has affected the livlihood of those at the Byron Bay Surf School.
Here’s a clue: the NSW state government controls the supply of surf school licences. Does this not demonstrate that we are fooling ourselves and the state is ultimately in control?
It’s no secret that local government is not recognised by the constitution.
Here’s some of the things the state government has done to Council and this community:
They are apparently looking at splitting Fishheads’ rent from the Byron pool (leaving us with nothing) and they grabbed some Brunswick Heads caravan parks and turned them into commercial ventures that Council won’t benefit from.
The Echo looks forward to seeing whether Cr Woods’s claims of Greens mismanagement are indeed correct – or does the state do as it pleases? The state also doesn’t appear interested in funding a night doctor for Mullum hospital since our night cases are so low (despite overwhelming public opposition).
When asked directly whether E2 coastal zonings were scrapped from the draft LEP, Don Page ambiguously told The Echo, ‘Some aspects of Byron Council’s draft LEP don’t comply with the Department of Planning template and have been amended prior to public exhibition.’ Is that a dodge or doesn’t he know?
It should be acknowledged that as our local member of parliament, he now has clout in NSW parliament but remains ineffectual or uninterested in these issues. Having influence in the Sydney-based parliament would be hard for an outsider but we deserve better, even if it is tokenistic.
The great fear of course is that our lack of ability to self- regulate will land us with being administered directly by the state. As outgoing Jan Barham’s ‘freakout’ demonstrated at Thursday’s Council meeting over publicly talking about the tender process, ICAC is very familiar with us. Thankfully she added later in the day that amalgamation wasn’t on the cards as ‘nobody would have us’.
All the best for whoever wins on September 8.