A much-anticipated protest against the current Abbott government and its draconian polices have hit a local bureaucratic snag.
The Byron Bay organisers of the planned March in March say they are the victim of stalling tactics from Byron Council that are aimed to extract money.
The weekend of marches is planned from March 15 to 17 across the nation.
But Byron Shire Council’s director of infrastructure services, Phil Holloway, told The Echo Council’sroad closure process for events and marches ‘includes a fee for road closures which is set each year as part of the Council’s fees and charges.’
‘The fee was paid at the time the road application was lodged and the application was considered by the Local Traffic Committee (LTC) on February 5, which recommended approval subject to conditions.’
The ultimate decision, according to Mr Holloway, comes down to councillors, not staff, and the issue will be voted on at Thursday’s meeting. ‘The Council administration cannot waive fees. The matter has been brought to the attention of Council and they will consider approval for the road closure permit and fees associated with the march at the meeting this week.’
But organiser Kim Wright told The Echo, ‘We are not an event. This sounds pedantic, but it has legal implications.
‘We are a public assembly – a public protest, which is totally different. About 60,000 people protested Sunday night in all capital cities over the death of the young man in Manus… did they have to pay insurance, fees, application costs? I think not.
‘Our biggest mistake was trying to do the right thing and involve Council.’
If all is resolved, the march will commence Sunday March 16, starting at 11am on Bay Street and will head to Railway Park. MC Mandy Nolan and other locals will speak. For more visit marchinmarch.com.au.