Biodiversity Protection – the Gift for the Future

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 DECEMBER 2012

Make a submission by 24th Dec to protect Byron Shire & Regional Biodiversity

Greens MLC Jan Barham is appealing to the community to take the time to give a gift to the future by making a submission to the Byron Shire LEP and writing to the Minister for Planning to ensure that North Coast biodiversity is protected.

“It’s a busy time of year but taking 15mins to write a submission should be a priority for everyone. The Byron Shire is a biodiversity hot spot that is loved by many and it is at risk of not being protected for the future” said Jan Barham MLC.

“The Byron Shire Council, like all north coast councils, has a responsibility to protect, preserve and enhance our natural heritage and its Local Environmental Plans are the tool to achieve this. The State Government is the designer and approval authority for our future and local government is required to develop the document under the restrictive controls set by the state.

“The current LEP has been developed over the last 30 years and has embedded in it the lessons learnt from many court cases and the experience of years of proposals that have attempted to threaten the unique ecological status of the area.

“Council’s current draft LEP proposal which is on exhibition is a status quo document. It does not take away landowners’ current property rights, it attempts to enshrine the current protection of values and constraints to inappropriate development in a new style format.

“The State Government last month announced that it will review the LEP zoning provisions, E2 and E3 environmental zones in rural areas. There has been ongoing campaigning that has included misinformation about the implications of the new Standard Instrument LEP which has been dictated to local government by the State Government. The council, like many others has continued to raise concerns about the new planning process since it was announced in 2004.

“I am appealing to residents, visitors and all those who love and respect the ecological significance of the area; it’s time to do something tangible and engage with a very important process that will determine whether or not we can continue the strong history of stewardship over the significant treasure we live in and love, our biodiversity and its future. Take the time to write a submission to the Byron Shire LEP and write to the Minister for Planning and inform him of our desire to protect our biodiversity. If you love this area and the wonderful life it provides you then please, at this important time express yourself – this is when it counts” said Jan Barham MLC.

“Byron Shire has a long and proud history of biodiversity protection: it was the first LEP in the state to have environmental zones, the first to introduce Ecological Sustainable Development and has produced award winning outcomes with the Flora and Fauna Study, the Biodiversity Conservation Plan, the Byron Rural Settlement Strategy and has achieved outstanding projects like Land for Wildlife, Sustainable Greenprint for the Future and is in the process of finalising a Koala Management Plan. The Byron Shire also boasts significant State protected areas with National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Recreation Areas. The shire is a jewel in Australia‚Äôs natural wonderland.”

The information to assist with submission writing is available on the Byron Shire Council website – LEP submissions due by 24th December, and Save North Coast Nature website.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0407 065 061