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Wednesday, 21 March


Op shop funding invaluable work in Kenya seeks new home Local News Echonetdaily

Carole Platt runs the Education Care Projects Kenya from her Op Shop. Photo Jeff Dawson

Aslan Shand

The Mullumbimby op-shop that supports children who have suffered extreme trauma in Kenya is currently looking for a new location as the building they have operated out of has recently been sold.

Having started in a vacant shop next to the Commonwealth Bank in 2016 as a pop up shop, the idea proved so successful that Carole Platt has now been running the The Education Care Projects Kenya Op Shop from the shop behind the Clay Organic Beauty and FarmCare buildings on River Terrace in Mullumbimby since April 2017.

Generous landlords

We have been really lucky with generous landlords, said Carole, emphasising that if they could find a new location they would like to keep the op-shop running.

Whatever we spend on costs here is less money that goes to Kenya, she said.

Currently the money raised is supporting 55 children who have suffered severe trauma to receive education.

There are many girls who are sold off at an early age, sometimes as young as eight, as a second or third wife, said Carole.

The right to land ownership can lead to the abuse of children and widows and women are really second class, Carole continued.

Carole and her husband Leon, who is a builder, are assisting in building a school on Massai land for children with severe trauma. The project is expected to be completed in 2019 and in the meantime the money from the op-shop goes to supporting those children in boarding schools and with other services such as counselling.

Carole and Leon will be in Kenya from July until early September continuing with building the school.

Widows have it very hard in Kenya, said Carole, and building the school has also proved to be an opportunity to help the local community earn some money.

We employ the widows to carry water on their donkeys and then the men to mix the cement that we are using to build the school.

Closes April 4

There is a lot of corruption in Kenya and not everything appears to be what it is on the surface, but I have found two organisations that I...


What Byron councillors will be talking about this Thursday Local News Echonetdaily

Hans Lovejoy

Its been a while since former general manager Ken Gainger retired.

And with councillors now scratching around for a replacement honcho, what better time to change the sheets, clean the carpets and blaze up some white sage for a smudge?

In an attempt to dust off the throne for the next GM, mayor Simon Richardson will seek councillor support at this Thursdays meeting to employ an independent consultant to undertake an organisation and governance review.

It will provide information as to the current state of Byron Shire Council for the incoming general manager and the community, says the mayor.

Those ratepayers who take a keen interest in where their rate money goes will know that Council is a large beast there are many many aspects to its $73m/year budget and governance. Cr Richardson highlights nine areas that are broadly the responsibility of the executive managers, who include Phil Holloway, Shannon Burt, Ralph James and acting GM Mark Arnold.

Shouty critics

So what do the staff say about having their operations looked at closely? And do expensive external reviews and audits keep shouty mobs of hardened council critics at bay?

While staff say that a significant body of previous audits address some of the requested review components, Melbourne-based consultants OCM have made a pitch for the job at a cost of $110,700 (excluding GST). There is no funding source, however.

And theres also the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee, which comprises Cr Cameron, Cr Hunter, Cr Richardson and specialist key stakeholders Michael Georghiou, Rae Wills and Brian Wilkinson. They meet next on May 17.

According to staff, consultants OCM have already been involved with recent reviews, such as corporate compliance and policy management (they were fine, we are told).

Some areas that have not been reviewed at all include public land management, which has not been undertaken with either Grant Thornton or OCM.

Also an independent review of Councils internal audit processes has not been, or scheduled to be, undertaken.

Importantly, a key area that residents have paid close attention to is Councils water supply and sewer infrastructure, which were last reviewed by Grant Thornton in 2013/14.

On a brighter note, staff explained some improvements with audit reports and a strong corporate compliance culture.

Funding Byrons masterplan

While there were assurances given around four years ago to The Echo by now-retired GM Gainger that there were funds available to undertake extensive Byron Bay masterplan projects, fast forward to now and the mayor is hoping to lock in that funding.

But staff say in the agenda the option is either to secure masterplan funding or, instead, secure asset renewal and the ability to reduce infrastructure backlog.

Which opt...


Councils face price hike for garbage disposal Local News Echonetdaily

The TiTree Bioreactor site in south-east Queensland, which local councils have described as state of the art. File photo

The Queensland Government has announced it will reintroduce a levy on interstate waste and two local councils using their services admit costs could go up in the short term.

Both Byron and Tweed councils export their non-recyclable waste to state of the art landfill sites in Queensland but both say they have dramatically cut their use of the service since introducing green waste bins in urban areas.

Lismore City Council processes its own landfill locally.

Tweed Council says its contractors currently transport around 35,000 tonnes of residual waste annually to South East Queensland.

Green bins

Byron Shire says its resource recovery programs and education campaigns have seen more than 9,000 tonnes of organic waste in the last two years being diverted from landfill and turned into compost.

Tweed says that since the introduction of green bins this year it is now diverting 62 per cent of domestic waste away from landfill, up from 40 per cent six months ago.

Byrons organic material is sent to Lismore where it is processed into a valuable compost resource, according to Lloyd Isaacson, the councils Resource and Recovery Team Leader.

Tweed Councils Community and Natural Resources Director, Tracey Stinson, says there is a long-term plan for the shire to build its own waste management facility, at a cost of some $40 million.

Byron Council currently has no such plan.

State of the art

But both Tweed and Byron have defended the use of the Queensland facility, with Ms Stinson saying, there are environmental benefits for us transporting residual waste to a state-of-the-art waste management centre which has landfill gas capture and energy recovery on the site.

Modelling undertaken by Byron Shire Council has found that the transport and disposal of landfill waste to Queensland results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved environmental outcomes compared to the technology that is viably available for landfill management in the Byron Shire, Mr Isaacson said.

Meanwhile, Ms Sti...


Regions solar users face tariff reductions Local News Echonetdaily

The north coast is leading the nation in its uptake of solar panels. Photo Energy Wise Group

Almost 34,000 households and businesses across the northern rivers are facing a reduction in their solar rebates.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has released an issues paper on solar feed-in tariffs which flags a reduction in the benchmark price paid to households generating solar electricity.

The proposed reduction would see payments drop from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19.

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham has called on the NSW Government to change the criteria to assess solar feed-in tariffs to recognise the multitude of benefits solar energy brings and encourage more households and business to install renewable energy.

This proposed reduction in the benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 11 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8 cents in 2018/19 is a direct result of the NSW Governments failure to instruct IPART to assess the true value of solar power, Mr Buckingham said.

If the National Party are serious about supporting renewable energy then they should be saying wrong way, go back to IPART.

NSW should be ensuring that electricity retailers pay a fair price for the solar electricity that is fed into the grid from roof top systems, which takes into account the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt.

Unless the NSW Government steps in then this decision will be a huge hit to the electricity bills of over 33,144 solar households and businesses that have installed solar panels in the Northern Rivers and will act as a disincentive to further uptake of solar panels.

Solar power is working to even out demand peaks and reduce electricity prices. Households and businesses should be rewarded for this service, not penalised for the benefit of big coal.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said the Greens recognise that solar power leads to cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and cheaper electricity.

The uptake of solar power should be encouraged and that is why the Greens have introduced a Bill into the NSW Parliament to ensure a minimum, fair price for solar, Ms Smith said.

She has introduced the Electricity Supply Amendment (Fair Price...


$20k audit of Byron park tree removal contradictory Local News Echonetdaily

One of the trees removed from Byron Bays Railway Park at the behest of departing GM Ken Gainger. Photo Chris Dobney

A Byron Shire councillor who voted to commission an audit, costing ratepayers $21,780, into the processes surrounding the unapproved removal of trees Byrons Railway Park late last year now admits the money might have been better spent planting more trees.

The independent report has suggested six recommendations to improve process following the incident .

Three trees were removed without notice on October 12, 2017, including a large Eucalyptus Dunnii, to make way for improvements as part of the towns first masterplan project. Councils former general manager Ken Gainger admitted to personally ordering the action, but has not faced any consequences.

Apart from reporting that community notification should have occurred prior to cutting the trees down, Sydney-based consultants SINC Solutions say there was a level of confusion, given the level of involvement of the Byron Bay town masterplan leadership team.

Its an accusation that has again been strongly denied by masterplan leadership team chair Chris Hanley. He told The Echo there was never any confusion because the group never discussed cutting down trees.

Its a conflicting position within the report; SINC Solutions claim the masterplan leadership team met on the same day as the trees were cut down. Opening comments from the chair at the meeting were that the community feels ignored and the leadership team is being associated with actions they know nothing about.

The Echo asked Greens Cr Michael Lyon, who voted to commission the audit, the following questions:

Given the former GM will not be held to account over this matter, have you a suggestion to future-proof Council from this situation happening again? It appears a rogue GM can get away with anything. 

This situation was somewhat unique in that the GM was trying to get some things done before moving on. This wouldnt normally be the case. It appears the report highlights the need for better consultation/notification and makes recommendations to this effect. Hopefully better judgment will be exercised by future GMs when it comes to the need for consulta...


Staff laid off, services cut ahead of NDIS rollout Local News Echonetdaily

DAISI Ballina. Its shopfront is set to close unless the state government reverses its decision to withdraw funding. Photo Simon Pender

Paul Bibby 

Local disability service providers have had to lay off staff, cut services and sell off assets in a bid to survive the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

A combination of unrealistic transition deadlines, the sudden end of state government funding, and a tough new payment system have forced many service providers to trim their operations to the bone.

This has seen dozens of staff leave the sector at a time when there is already a shortage of qualified disability support workers, and the shutting down of crucial services such as transport and respite care.

Cody Boylan, the operations manager of mid-north coast disability services provider Aces Inc, said the launch of the NDIS had been like a plane taking off without a fuselage.

Weve had to let probably four or five admin staff go, Mr Boylan said.

Under the new payment and pricing model theres nothing for the organisations back end the administration.

Weve had to cut spending pretty dramatically.

Funding model

Service providers interviewed by The Echo said that the biggest impact on the sector was the shift from the old state government block funding model to the new demand-based system.

While previously organisations would be funded months in advance to run particular programs that people with a disability could then apply to access, they are now effectively competing with other organisations to attract participants and then invoicing the National Disability Agency (NDA) afterwards based on how many people...


Complaints against suspended market stallholder verified Local News Echonetdaily

BBCC GM Paul Spooner says he had no choice but to suspend market stallholder Ian Brown after varying complaints.

Hans Lovejoy

Further to last weeks story regarding the suspension of a stallholder by Byron Community Market managers, the Byron Bay Community Centre (BBCC) has provided written evidence of the five complainants to The Echo.

BBCC general manager Paul Spooner, who is also a councillor, was prompted to reply after suspended stallholder Ian Brown erected a large sign on Ewingsdale Road last Monday that read, Who is the bully Spooner? Expose your fabricated allegations!

The Echo verified statements with three of those complainants by phone.

Cr Spooner suspended Brown after complaints against Browns recent behaviour at the markets, yet Brown denied any wrongdoing and said he had been targeted because he is a vocal opponent of moving the markets from Butler Street.

This is a total fabrication, he told The Echo.

Although Browns character has been supported by a number of fellow stallholders, Cr Spooner told The Echo, By not acting upon these complaints, the BBCC believed we would be liable for failing to uphold workplace health and safety. It would open us to legal action.

As the complaints were varying in nature, Cr Spooner said he had no choice but to suspend Brown.

Additionally Cr Spooner denied that he was pushing for any move of the market, and said that he has always abstained from voting on market-related issues in Council as it is a pecuniary interest.

But he did agree when asked that uncertainty around Council staffs push for the now abandoned transport hub had caused confusion and angst as there was a lack of detailed plans.

As I previously said, the first councillors knew about the transport hub was when it became public.

And its not just the transport hub that is causing angst for stallholders and Butler Street residents; Cr Spooner says there is still no assurance as to how the planned Butler Street bypass will be managed or when it will happen.

In this upcoming Council meeting agenda, staff say they were unsuccessful in applying for a $8m grant for Byron Bay Town Centre Bypass, Commonwealth, Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.



Are you eligible for a Green slip refund? Local News Echonetdaily

NSW green slip refunds are available until are available until 30 September 2018.

The NSW Government last year overhauled the old CTP Green Slip Scheme to create a more affordable, lower cost scheme.

In addition to lower premiums in 2018, the government is providing partial refunds to the owners of vehicles across the state with insurance premiums calculated based on the cost of the old scheme.

Greens Ballina MP Tamara Smith says that in her electorate alone more than 40,000 motor vehicle owners will now be able to claim a CTP Green Slip refund.

The new CTP scheme is delivering savings for motorists. The average Green Slip price this year across the local area will be $423, down from $481 last year, said Ms Smith.

Refund amounts will differ between motorists depending on when they renewed their Green Slip. The closer to 1 December 2017 a motorist paid their premium, the larger the refund.

How to apply and claim

People with a MyServiceNSW email account can expect to receive an email advising them they are entitled to a refund. The refund will be processed through their MyServiceNSW account and paid into a bank account of their choice.

Vehicle owners who do not have a MyServiceNSW account can check online if they are eligible for a refund or by visiting their local Service NSW Centre at Ballina Homemaker Centre, 26 Boeing Avenue, Ballina before creating an account.

To register for your Green Slip refund visit or for further information on the new scheme visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority.

Minister for Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said that, as a result of the governments reforms, over $29 million will be returned to vehicle owners across Northern NSW. The average refund is $43.

The new CTP scheme is delivering a big win for motorists through lower premiums, greater protections for those injured on the road and refunds on premiums paid during 2017, he said.

Refunds will be available in the coming days and weeks and are available until 30 September 2018.


The post Are you eligible for a Green slip refund? appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Planting day for Bangalow koalas Local News Echonetdaily

Some 1,400 koala food trees will be planted on private land in Bangalow on Saturday, March 24. Can you give a hand?
Photo supplied

In an effort to strengthen and connect existing koala corridors on the western edge of Bangalow and beyond, a planting day is planned on a private landholders property, located at 49 Tristania Street, on Saturday, March 24

Linda Sparrow from Bangalow Koalas says 1,400 koala trees will be planted.

With a 50 per cent decline in the population of koalas in the northern rivers in the last 20 years, it cant be stressed how important it is right now to be planting out koala feed and habitat trees.

Australia is in the midst of a land-clearing crisis, and with the new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 just coming into force its estimated to protect only one per cent of koala habitat on private and public land. With federal and state governments failing our environment miserably, it is up to conservation groups, local councils and community groups to act.

To date, this will be the biggest koala-tree planting in Bangalow and driven by the community not-for-profit group Bangalow Koalas in conjunction with Byron Shire Council.

To get involved, contact Linda Sparrow, president Bangalow Koalas on 0411 491 991 or by email:

Another contact is Joanne Green at Byron Shire Council on 6626 7068 or Joanne.

The post Planting day for Bangalow koalas appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Park plans for Suffolk Parks park take shape Local News Echonetdaily

That was then: the Suffolk Park community successfully rallied in 2016 to keep its village green. Now its considering the best uses for the land. File photo

Concept plans for Our Park on Suffolk Parks Beech Drive were shared with local residents last week. It comes after the community lobbied the state government and won to retain the land after it was flagged for sale as surplus.

The Suffolk Park Progress Association (SPPA) hosted two meetings with presentations by landscape architect Dan Plummer and Byron Shire Councils manager of open spaces Michael Matthews. These initial plans were drawn up as a result of similar, community-led planning meetings held early last year.

Plans include new pedestrian paths, a bicycle track, a nature playground, seating and a small, public performance space. Drainage issues will have to be addressed throughout the park and shade will be created, both natural and man-made. The community gardens will remain but may be formalised depending on their ongoing usage and maintenance. A large section of the community-owned park will remain multi-use open space.

The bones are good but significant members of the community dont have anything to do there, said Mr Plummer, whose vision for the park involves a wider demographic of Suffolk Parks community.

Byron Shire Councils Michael Matthews focused on the logistics of the plan, discussing the budget, planning stages and eventuation. $700,000 of Section 94 Funds are available for the Suffolk Park suburb but only for new capital items.

He said, Public safety is a priority, and suggested that a new pedestrian access path, running parallel to the current driveway, be prioritised.

President of the Suffolk Park Progress Association Donald Maughan concluded the meeting by welcoming ongoing community input from residents of all ages. They will be able to view these concept plans on the SPPA Website, SPPA Facebook page and community noticeboards....


Q&A with Byron Community Solutions Panellists Local News Echonetdaily

Who are the people that will be deciding where Byron Shires rate rise money will go?

With council acknowledging its has a trust deficit with the community, a citizens jury panel of 28 randomly selected anonymous ratepayers has been brought into decide how the rate rise funds will be spent.

This bold new trust-building project is being led by the newDemocracy foundation.
While sworn to anonymity, The Echo asked three panellists a few questions.

How old are you?
Panelist one: 59
Panelist two: 36
Panelist three: lets just say over 60

What motivated you to apply for this panel?

Panelist one: I have a solid understanding of budgets and government fiscal policy and processes having had extensive experience in place making and government.

Panelist two: I felt confident in The newDemocracy Foundation concept. Bringing people from the local community around the table to help the council on important issues of the Byron shire is a great idea. I couldhear some complains from friends, neighbours and tourists about Byron management. This gave me the base knowledge to understand the issues the shire is facing. I thought I could bring ideas to the panel, which would have help for the creation of the final report.

Panelist three: I have known about Citizens Juries for quite a few years, and I was interested to experience one.  I also wanted to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing Byron Shire.

Do you feel you had enough time to get up to speed with the finances and issues?

Panelist one: Council has been very transparent about its financial position and the panel has been provided with a number of documents to peruse prior to its first session, but there are still two full days ahead of us to further delve into the issues. Requests for further information is being/has been collated on topics pertinent to these discussions. Im confident that this information will provide the appropriate data to put forward a number of possible solutions and strategies for the future.

Panelist two: Yes, I think so. The council has created a briefing book that clearly explains the situation and gives a lot of information that helps for answering the open questions that have been given to the panel. As well, weve been helped by Georgina Inwood and Lucy Cole-Edelstein during every meeting to make the members of the group panel interact with each other.

Panelist three: We are getting there, given that were not quite halfway through the process. The briefing paper was comprehensive and informative. We now have access to even more information, which will have to be digested before we meet next weekend, so theres a lot of homework coming up.

Clearly the pressure of over two million visitors and low ratepayer base has been Byrons issue for many years. What insights did you feel you g...


The large-scale personal data release Facebook Inc didn't tell the world about North Coast Voices

Back in 2004, when a 19-year-old Zuckerberg had just started building Facebook, he sent his Harvard friends a series of instant messages in which he marvelled at the fact that 4,000 people had volunteered their personal information to his nascent social network. People just submitted it ... I dont know why ... They trust me ... dumb fucks.  [The Guardian, 21 March 2018]

Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trumps key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix  [The Guardian,18 March 2018]



Wealth Inequality in Australia something to think about North Coast Voices

In 2015-16 there were an est. 326,000 to 337,000 households out of 8.9 million households which could be classified as the richest Australian households based on income and/or wealth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Wealth in this cohort starts at $10 million and rises, with average weekly incomes starting at a little over $5,000.

The Guardian, 18 March 2018:

The richest 20% of Australians hold about 40% of the national income but nearly 65% of the national wealth, and a majority of the wealth is held by those over 55. And our tax system is designed to help them not only keep it, but to garner more and then give it to their children (who then garner more and then give it to their children, who then ...)

Our retirement system is based around tax-free holdings of wealth through the family home, which is exempt from capital gains tax, and tax-free income from superannuation.


The 'new' business model in politics North Coast Voices

"It's no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it's all about emotion."

Proof that a business model of election campaigning has come off the pages of a Hollywood screenplay and out onto the streets of everyday Australia (video at 5:54).

Tuesday, 20 March


March on Palm Sunday for justice for refugees "IndyWatch Feed Nsw"


2pm, Victoria Square, march to Parliament House Facebook event here


Central Park, 11am Facebook event here


Lennox Head Bus Station, Beachfront opposite the shops  11am


Rosalind Plaza, 12.30pm


Corbett Plaza, 6pm  Friday, 23rd March


1pm, King George Square Facebook event here


1pm Garema Place Facebook event here


Nightcliff Foreshore, 5pm

Denmark (WA)

11am Strickland Street


2pm Parliament House Lawns, Salamanca Facebook event here


12.30pm BYO picnic, Princes Square, 2pm march via the city centre to City Park for a multicultural celebration

Lennox Head

11am Ballina Rd bus shelter at Nth end of shopping centre Facebook event here

Margaret River


Residents resist removal of trees in Arakwal national park Local News Echonetdaily

Melaleucas trees to be removed. Photo supplied.

Local residents on Evans Street in Byron Bay, that backs onto the Arakwal national park, have raised concerns over the intended removal of approximately 40 melaleuca trees in the park and near their properties.

We have spent countless hours removing ute-loads of dumped rubbish and invasive weeds from the park and our immediate surrounds, said one resident David Hosking.

This included observing the natural inhabitants and the flora and fauna. Over three years we have observed and followed a family of two tawny frogmouths produce a single off spring each year in the melaleucas immediately in front of our property. Two families of butcherbirds whose nests have been rebuilt each year and a family of blue-faced honeyeaters. Not to mention the hundreds of lorikeets which appear on flowering time to gorge themselves on the nectar of the melaleucas trees.

Significant risk of fire

Responding to their concerns local community protection officer Ian Cook joined residents yesterday to discuss their concerns.

Mr Cook highlighted the significant risk on the interface between the park boundary and local properties in the area. The park boundary is an asset protection zone (APZ) and there is a legislative requirement that the National Parks and Wildlife Service(NPWS) have to protect the properties on the park boundary particularly in light of the current fires destroying homes in both NSW and Victoria.

He pointed out that there is a significant transient population that includes people travelling and camping up the coast as well as the homeless who often light fires in the park as well as almost every second home being a holiday let that increases the risk of fire and its potentially dangerous outcomes.

A spokesperson for the  office of environment and heritage said that The work is required to maintain the Asset Protection Zone, a crucial part of the fire management strategy for the park providing a buffer zone between the park and neighbouring properties.

Looking for a compromise



Stop Adani films to screen in Lismore on Thursday Local News Echonetdaily

The Lismore Library meeting room, in Magellan Street, will be the venue for a film evening with two half-hour documentaries that look at the issues behind the Adani mine proposal and the fight to stop it, in Queenslands Galilee Basin.

Doors open at 5.30 pm this Thursday, March 22, for the event hosted by the Stop Adani Lismore group.

The 30-minute Guarding the Galilee documentary starts at 6pm and covers the issues and impact on the region if the mine goes ahead. A Mighty Force screens at 7pm and tells the story of local people and those from further afield, fighting to stop the destructive mining venture from proceeding.

There will be refreshments and live music from Triple J unearthed artist Leif Morris and it is a relaxed way for people to get a better understanding of what is at stake in the development of mega mines in the Galilee basin in Queensland, according Stop Adani group spokesperson Tom Driftwood.

Come for one or come for both movies, he said, adding, its a free event but of course donations would always be welcome on the night.

The post Stop Adani films to screen in Lismore on Thursday appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Move to get tourists to go plastic bag-free Local News Echonetdaily

Dan Smith Project Manager, Scott Wanchap Byron Central Apartments Manager & Paul Crebar Project Director. Photo Daniel Buckley

Plastic Free Byron have officially launched their Byron Borrow Bag program for accommodation providers operating in Byron Bay.

The first provider to take up the challenge is Byron Central Apartments.

Seed funded by Santos Organics, the program was established to deter plastic bag usage in the tourism sector.

It provides reusable organic cotton bags and timber stands for rooms and accomodation complexes so that tourists have shopping bags to use whilst on their stay.

Program director Paul Crebar said that with over 2 million people visiting Byron Bay, many staying overnight, the impact of getting reusable bags into visitors hands for their shopping can have a significant impact on plastic bag use, the associated waste and the waste management costs our local council incurs as a result.

Project manager Dan Smith, from Clean Coast Collective, said, given that Byron Bay is an iconic destination renowned for being at the forefront of sustainable initiatives, its fitting for us to initiate this program.

The program will strengthen the interest of tourists in our sustainable lifestyle and has the potential to be adopted by accommodation providers throughout Australia and the world which were incredibly excited about.

Plastic Free Byron welcome other accommodation providers to get in touch to organise their complimentary bags with a limited number of stands and bags offered free as part of the grant funding.

For more details visit


The post Move to get tourists to go plastic bag-free appeared first on Echonetdaily.


Successful turn out for disabled surfing in Byron Local News Echonetdaily

Saturdays Lets Go Surfing Day at Clarkes Beach in Byron was a great success. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Saturdays Lets Go Surfing Day at Clarkes Beach in Byron was a great success said president of the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia Inc (DSA), Steve Keefe.

It was the best turn out this year and our second ever biggest day. There was a really good turn out of volunteers from the community and there were 62 participants who got to catch plenty of waves especially those who arrived early.

From October to March each year the DSA run monthly events at Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Evans Head, Yamba and Minnie Waters between the months of October and March.

Everyone had lots of fun and there were lots of smiles and laughing there is always lots of whooping and cheering and encouragement and it is all about making sure that it is all round fun fore everyone, continued Steve.

Following the surfing there is a free...


Meningococcal case confirmed on North Coast Local News Echonetdaily

Residents are being urged to watch out for signs of meningococcal disease after the North Coast Public Health Unit confirmed that a Maclean resident has been admitted to Lismore Base Hospital with the condition recently.

Assistant Director of North Coast Public Health Unit, Greg Bell said, all close contacts of the person have been identified and given clearance antibiotics, and other contacts have been given information in regards to the disease.

Meningococcal disease is very uncommon in NSW and only one other case has been notified in NNSW LHD this year, and only five cases for the whole of last year, Mr Bell said.


Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterial infection and can lead to serious illness. Anyone with symptoms is advised to see a doctor urgently.

Symptoms are non-specific but may include sudden onset of fever, headache, neck stiffness, joint pain, a rash of red-purple spots or bruises, dislike of bright lights, nausea and vomiting.

Meningococcal bacteria are not easily spread from person to person or by sharing drinks, food or cigarettes, and the bacteria do not survive well outside the human body.

Close contacts generally include those who live in the same household, attend the same care group in childcare, or are sexual contacts of the ill person.

People in the same school class, sporting team, or casual social contacts of the ill person are considered lower-risk contacts.


Vaccination against meningococcal C is included in the National Immunisation Program Schedule. It is recommended for all children at one year of age (as part of free routine immunisation).

In addition, the NSW Government has invested $13 million in a statewide immunisation program to combat a rise in the W strain of meningococcal disease.

The NSW Meningococcal W Response Program provides Year 11 and 12 students across the state with free vaccines that protect against four strains of meningococcal disease. Year 10 and 11 students are being offered the vaccine in 2018.

A single dose of this vaccine provides effective protection against all four strains for at least five years. This age group has been targeted as teenagers are very socially active and therefore both more likely to be exposed to the infection, and also more likely to spread the infection in the community.



NEW Sour Cherry Cheesecake Cookie packaged in unique artwork from Teazer Byron Bay Blog

The Byron Bay Cookie Company is proud to introduce its NEW Sour Cherry Cheesecake Cookie which is now being served on board selected Qantas domestic flights.

Part of a new Art Series, the packaging features unique artwork from local artist Davey Mac aka Teazer.

The new cookie will be served on board Qantas until August, and is available for purchase at

A little about the artist:

His graffiti has taken him all around Australia and the world and he is well known in the industry.

His journey has landed him in the beautiful surrounds of Byron Bay with his partner and fellow artist Alyssa Tennent, with whom he has opened up Stay Gold Studio, a fresh initiative to create art, connect with and exhibit artworks from international and local artists.

The post NEW Sour Cherry Cheesecake Cookie packaged in unique artwork from Teazer appeared first on Byron Bay Blog.


Sexual assault an issue for Byron Bay Local News Echonetdaily

The police are reminding the public that if a person is impaired by either alcohol or drugs then regardless of what they say or do, they cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse .

Brendon Cullen, detective chief inspector at the Tweed Byron local area command (TB LAC) told Echonetdaily that in the six months since July 2017 there have been nine reported sexual assaults in Byron Bay and three people have been charged and are currently before the courts.

According to detective inspector Cullen, there is a current investigation in to a sexual assault that occurred in Byron Bay in February and was reported in March. A statement has been taken. 

Responding to social media concerns that five men assaulted the woman in public, he said that while a member of the public did help the victim, no assault was interrupted and they currently have no incidents that involved multiple perpetrators.

Detective inspector Cullen emphasised that no victims would be sent away if they came to report a sexual assault, however he said that some people are unsure at the time about whether they want to lay charges. 

Our victim is our primary concern and they are immediately offered counselling services and medical treatment prior to making a statement. All our hospitals offer sexual assault services.

A lot [of victims] dont make a claim, he said, and that doesnt include the ones we dont know about who go straight to receive medical treatment and dont chose to report the incidents to the police.

There can be numerous reasons why people chose not t...


Byron Bay parking times reduced Local News Echonetdaily

New parking signs with reduced limits are going up in Byron Bay.

Check the signs before you park! From next Monday, Byron Shire Council is reducing time limits in some zones in the Bay in a bid to free up more spaces and improve traffic flow.

Councils infrastructure services director Phil Holloway is urging Byron Bay residents and workers to be aware of changes that may directly affect them.

Parking signage is being installed during March, with new parking restrictions coming into effect by Monday, March, 26, before Easter, Mr Holloway said.

We are making a small number of changes to parking time limits in Byron Bay to address traffic issues and increase access to spaces for everyone, but we are conscious of the impact these changes may have on residents and workers in particular.We also want to make sure our community is aware of these changes so that they dont get caught off guard and end up with an unnecessary fine, he added.

The parking time limits in both the north and south Lawson Street car parks will change from all day to 4 hour parking spaces.

The designated space for those requiring all day parking will now be in the Butler Street Reserve, and Council will be monitoring this change carefully.Summary of changes to parking time limits in Byron Bay:

Free Parking  Butler St Reserve and the northern side of Somerset St.
No time limit  part of Shirley, Wordsworth and Butler Sts.
4P car parks  Lawson St north and south
4P residential parking permits  Carlyle St and Cowper St.
2P  Fletcher St (eastern side only) and Jonson St between Carlyle and Kingsley Sts.
1P  Byron St

Once these new parking schemes are in place, we will be monitoring and reviewing their effectiveness and reporting the results back to Council by June 2019.

Please double check the signage when youre parking in Byron Bay or any of our villages.  Make yourself familiar with the new parking restrictions and signage so youre not caught off guard and to avoid a fine, Mr Holloway said.

The new parking schemes do not affect Pay Parking or the use of E-Permits in any way.

Councils compliance officers will be out and abo...


Trevor Tree of Bellingen Northern Rivers NSW Australia "IndyWatch Feed Nsw"


trevor tree 7

Trevor Tree of Bellingen died on Friday 5 May 2017 in Coffs Harbour Hospital.

Trevor died while doing something he really loved-surfing.

There is no way anyone would have predicted what happened to Trevor.

Of all the people in Bellingen in their late 50s to 60s, Trevor is the last person anyone would think this would happen to.


Trevor was aged 57 and was born on 25 August 1959.




Is This The Clarence River Estuary Future If Berejiklian Government Has Its Way? "As the cruise season continues, smoke particles emitted from cruise ship funnels have left people living and working near the port increasingly alarmed" North Coast Voices

Well the NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight & Nationals MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey ended the fourth quarter of 2017 in much the same manner as she progressed through the three preceding quarters - she meet with representatives of international cruise lines.

I still didn't see any listed meeting with Yaegl native title representatives or with Clarence Valley Council in her published ministerial diary.

She certainly hasn't met with the communities of Yamba and Iluka which will be most affected by the 24/7 noise and fumes emanating from those cruise ships she is so eager to see make Port of Yamba-Clarence River a regular destination.

This is what happened in Hobart when it opened its doors to such cruise ships........ 

The Mercury, 15 March 2018:

HOBART residents are continuing to suffer the effects of air pollution from visiting cruise ships, says Acting Lord Mayor Ron Christie.

As the cruise season continues, smoke particles emitte...


Australia Post-Port Arthur Massacre North Coast Voices

Twenty years after the Port Arthur Massacre when a lone gunman killed 35 people and wounded 23 more.

The Conversation, 27 April 2016:

The 1996 firearm laws were immediately followed by a buying spree, as banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns were replaced with freshly imported single-shot firearms.
By 1999, civilian gun imports had dropped to a record low. And most gun dealers closed their doors.

In the years that followed, gun-buying climbed steadily to new heights. By 2015, the arms trade had broken all previous records. Last financial year Australia imported 104,000 firearms.

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