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Thursday, 21 September

00:46

Cashless Welfare Card: a denizen of Mount Olympus pontificates on the ignorant masses below North Coast Voices


This was Dr Jeremy Sammut (left) from the Centre for Independent Studies giving his views on the ignorant underclass, Friday, 8 September 2017:

Its a libertarian fantasy that the problem of welfare dependence can be addressed without using the power of the state to compel responsible personal behaviour.

State compulsion, for example, is essential to enforce mutual obligation requirements and force the unemployed to actively seek a job, instead of continuing to loaf on the dole.

My research on the nations child protection crisis has sharply revealed the social damage wreaked by unrestricted welfare and parental bad behaviour among an underclass of dysfunctional families.

I therefore have no problem with the idea that welfare recipients could be compelled to take better care of children by being forced to spend their benefits on food and other essentials, rather than on drink, drugs, and gambling.

This is how we should view the debate about the federal governments plan to expand the trial of the cashless welfare card as a means of addressing the intergenerational transfer of dysfunction and dependence within families.

In philosophical terms, the cashless welfare card is an example of ...

00:45

Singing the heavens, singing the land, singing the lore, singing the people and their history - weaving memory North Coast Voices


And those of us whose forebears stumbled off a handful of British boats in 1788 are still trying and often failing to understand this rich, enduring culture.......

The Monthly, September 2017:

Epic of Gilgamesh is Googles answer to what is the oldest known literature. Unknown scribes in the city of Ur picked the poem out in cuneiform letters some 4500 years ago. These clay tablets preserved an older oral tradition, but that part of the story is usually left out. Instead, the Mesopotamian epic fits easily into that cartoonish diagram of the Ascent of Man, where civilisation means writing, a sequence of metals and a procession of capitals: Memphis, Babylon, Athens, Rome.

Compare this lineage to the ceremonial songs of Aboriginal Australia. Their absolute vintage is unknowable, but the best estimates run to at least 12,000 years old. At this distance in time, the study of literature needs not just linguists but geologists. There are songlines that accurately describe landscape features (like now-disappeared islands) from the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Their provenance may stretch even further back, all the way into the last ice age. They are also alive. The last person to hear Epic of Gilgamesh declaimed in her native culture died millennia ago. Songlines that may have been born 30,000 years ago are being sung right now.

Read the full article here.

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Wednesday, 20 September

11:53

Bruns Terrace Park POM tabled Thursday Local News Echonetdaily

Lifelong Brunswick Heads local Darcy O'Meara walks among the historic cypress pines planted by WWI veterans in the southern section of The Terrace, which have been heavily pruned over the years much to locals' concern. Byron Shire Council is now undertaking a study of the park.

Lifelong Brunswick Heads local Darcy OMeara walks among the historic cypress pines planted by WWI veterans in the southern section of The Terrace, which have been heavily pruned over the years much to locals concern. Byron Shire Council is now undertaking a study of the park.

Formalising management for one of the three holiday parks in Brunswick Heads will be up for discussion at this Thursdays Council meeting.

While NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NSWCHPT) operate all three Brunswick Heads holiday parks and 35 across NSW councillors are required to give their consent to the plans.

Staff have recommended in the agenda that councillors place conditions on the Terrace Park in Brunswick Heads as a way of going forward for the state-run NSWCHPT to lodge an approval to operate with Council for the Terrace Reserve Holiday Park. 

The current Terrace Reserve Holiday Park map presented within Councils extra agenda suggests 7m foreshore setbacks to the operational boundary.

Cabins rejigged

The plan also proposes reducing the 98 powered/unpowered camping sites to 66 but increasing southern camping from 29 to 38 sites.

Increasing cabins from 10 to 22 is also proposed, along with maintaining the level of permanent residents at 27.

Staff suggest that the contentious southern Cypress Pine precinct, known to have been planted as a memorial to locals who fought in WWI, should be restricted to short-term camping sites with no permanent residents or cabins to be relocated to the area. 

Camping practices in Southern Cypress Pine Precinct will observe and protect structural root zones of the Cypress Pines. 

Staff also suggest that remaining permanent residents will be relocated to the north western precinct. 

...

11:48

NSW govt puts holiday-letting policy on hold Local News Echonetdaily

Paying for touristsThe NSW planning department have deferred Byrons holiday-letting strategy until the government releases its own options paper on the issue.

According to a letter sent to Councils general manager (GM) Ken Gainger by the department on May 16 this year, that paper is to be released in the near future.

Councils push for action comes from the absence of a statewide strategy to address holiday letting; a proposal by Council for its own short-term rental accommodation (STRA) policy was tabled in 2014.

Planning Services executive director (regions) Stephen Murray said in the letter which is contained within the upcoming September 21 Council agenda that the-yet-to-be-released paper follows a parliamentary inquiry into short-term holiday-letting strategy.

Mr Murray said that while the issue is important for Council and the Byron community it is equally important across many other parts of NSW and therefore any regulatory provisions must be carefully considered and consistent across the state.   

At this Thursdays Council meeting, Greens Cr Michael Lyon will call on fellow councillors to not proceed to enable Council time to reconsider and resubmit a more detailed and well-thought-through planning proposal following the outcome of the state governments consideration of the Short Term Holiday Letting in NSW options paper.

He writes in the agenda, As our experience thus far in attempting to regulate STRA through our planning instrument shows, this is a landscape that is constantly shifting. With the NSW governments release of their options paper and therefore imminent decision on a potentially statewide approach to regulating STRA, it does not make sense to continue with our planning proposal in its current form when we do not know how it may interact with the NSW governments finalised approach.

It is noted that an option to continue with the current situation, that is with the power for individual councils to choose how to best regulate STRA in their local government areas, including the ability to amend their own LEPs as they see fit with the support of the minister for planning, is absent from the options paper.

...

11:42

Echo beginnings: Tales from the Magic Beanstalk Local News Echonetdaily

In the early days when The Echo crew enjoyed a stint in Brunswick Heads and experimented with printing the paper themselves. Photo John McCormick, 1988.

In the early days when The Echo crew enjoyed a stint in Brunswick Heads and experimented with printing the paper themselves. Photo John McCormick, 1988.

Thirty-one years have passed since Nicholas Shand dreamed up this newspaper and collected a band of similar dreamers to help him make it real.

In those 31 years The Echo has grown, like a magic beanstalk, far taller than we ever imagined, and it is now one of the primary institutions of Byron Shire.

Being an institution is a bit of a challenge for a paper that has always adopted a larrikin tone, opposes authority and the status quo, and stands firmly left of centre. But The Echo is more than just a radical voice to counter the arrogance of wealth and power; it is a long-lived experiment in community building, and lately an example of how to disprove predictions of the death of newspapers.

Indeed, more like a giant figtree than a beanstalk, it is rooted in the essence of what makes Byron Shire different from anywhere else, and it both encapsulates and reflects that essence. Nowadays many kinds of vegetation grow among these roots, other publications which you can choose to read and which advertisers can choose to support. Some may be ephemeral weeds that will perish at the slightest change of weather, but some may have the potential to grow and affect the Shire in their turn as The Echo has done.

Given that newcomers are constantly arriving and discovering the local media jungle, a little history might serve to separate the weeds from the natives.

This will be an occasional series, written from the perspective of the newspapers longest-serving drudge, David Lovejoy.

The pointy end of Nicholas Shand in the early days of The Brunswick Valley Echo.

The pointy end of Nicholas Shand...

11:06

Paulines a roll model for future surfers Local News Echonetdaily

Pauline Menczer. Photo Tree Faerie.

Pauline Menczer is a great roll model for all junior surfers. Photo Tree Faerie.

Eve Jeffery

Its not easy being a world champion. It pretty much means putting everything else in your life on hold until that goal is achieved. There are always a lot of sacrifices along the way, a lot of things you could have done, but didnt, in the pursuit of one goal.

Thats why there arent many of them. You could probably count the world champions living in the Byron Shire on one hand. Maybe even one finger.

A Byron Shire lass for over 20 years and now based in Bruns, Pauline Menczer has won 28 major surfing tournaments she has three Bells bells, has won Hawaii three times, as well as wins in Brazil, France, Japan and Portugal, to name a few.

Pauline volunteers with the Byron Bay indigenous surf school Burra Jurra and is a member of the Lennox All Girls club. Photo Tree Faerie.

Pauline volunteers with the Byron Bay indigenous surf school Burra Jurra and is a member of the Lennox All Girls club. Photo Tree Faerie.

She also has three world titles  World Amateur 1988, World Pro in 1993 and World Qualifying Series in 2002. You could safely say Paulines a pretty good surfer....

10:35

Tweed Council looks at prosecution over Limpinwood logging Local News Echonetdaily

Hewittville Holdings had no consent for the logging or roading within these Environmental Protection Zones near Limpinwood. Photo supplied.

Hewittville Holdings had no consent for the logging or roading within these Environmental Protection Zones near Limpinwood. Photo supplied.

Tweed Shire Council and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) undertook a joint inspection yesterday of the south eastern area of a logging operation near Limpinwood. The operation, that is part of a private native forestry agreement, has recently come under fire for unauthorised logging and roading.

An EPA spokesperson said: The EPA identified some issues which will need to be further investigated.  The landowner has agreed to cease logging on the property for the short term while matters are further looked into.

Prosecution

A report to the Tweed Shire Council meeting this Thursday will recommend that Council engage solicitors to provide preferred options for prosecution and   to pursue a stop work court order, said Tweed Shire mayor, Katie Milne.

I will be asking that the State Government urgently revoke this logging licence due to the serious and repeated offences in this highly sensitive area.

The area where logging and roading has taken place is in a key regional wildlife corridor between two World Heritage Areas Wollumbin, Mt Warning and The Border Ranges. Around a kilometre of clearing for significant roadworks and logging has been undertaken in this protected area.

Irreplaceable

The National Parks and Wildlife Service website describes World Heritage Areas as irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration  places of such value that the international community has agreed they must be conserved for all time.

As well as concerns for threatened species and World Heritage values, there are major concerns for the potential of extensive sediment loads entering waterways, and the safety and stability of the works due to the po...

10:25

Ballina Boat Harbour rehab done Local News Echonetdaily

Ballina--Boat-Harbour-640x427

Ballina Boat Harbour. Photo supplied.

Dredging of the Ballina boat harbour was carried out prior to Christmas 2016 to ensure better boat access to Fishery Creek. The bagged sediment was dried and has now been removed

Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin says the original dredging work involved the removal of more than 26,500 cubic metres of sediment 17,670 from Ballina Boat Harbour and 8,850 cubic metres from Fishery Creek.

The sediment removed was dried on-site in large bags and have now been disposed, said Mr Franklin. The site has been levelled, rehabilitated and sprayed with a mixture of grass seeds to restore the area.

The dredging and sediment removal work was funded under the NSW Governments Dredging of Priority Waterways on the North Coast.

This project supports the local and regional economies by maintaining safe navigation for our commercial and recreational boaters operating out of the harbour.

 

The post Ballina Boat Harbour rehab done appeared first on Echonetdaily.

09:42

Shark nets, drones and drum lines beach safety the focus Local News Echonetdaily

Shark in the ocean. Photo supplied.

Shark in the ocean. Photo supplied.

Staying safe in the water as the weather heats up and the school holidays start is important to keep at the top of your mind. Rivers as well as the ocean can have strong currents and snags that are dangers to swimmers  though rivers generally have less sharks.

From September 23 a helicopter and drones will be taking to the skies on the NSW north and mid north coasts, as aerial surveillance and further drone trials get underway in time for school holidays. It will also see the launch of the new patrol season for NSW surf life saving who will be back on the beaches every weekend and public holiday through to April 25, 2018.

Shark spotting

Spring and school holidays are here, and now that the weather is a little warmer we expect locals and holiday makers to flock to this States beautiful beaches these school holidays, said NSW Department of Primary Industries, Sarah Fairfull.

Helicopters will fly daily, weather permitting, from Point Danger (Tweed Heads) to South Ballina, Wooli to Sawtell, Nambucca Heads to Port Macquarie and Crowdy Head to Birubi during the school holidays.

Sharks are a natural part of our environment, however a better awareness and understanding of sharks and their behaviour can help everyone enjoy the beach and reduce their risk of a shark encounter these school holidays, continued Ms Fairfull.

Drones fitted with a siren to alert swimmers and surfers if a shark is spotted nearby, will be flying every half hour each morning of the holidays at Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Lighthouse Beach Ballina and Evans Head. Check out drone vision here.  

A network of 21 VR4G listening stations, which provide real time shark alerts to beachgoers when a tagged shark swims within 500m. Aerial surveillance sightings and tagged shark information is automatically sent out via the Sharksmart App and on @NSWSharkSmart on Twitter.

Shark nets and drumlines

35 SMAR...

09:17

Mullum High students get the groove on for charity Local News Echonetdaily

Mullum High year 12 students collecting donations for Brunswick Rescue Squad in the mina street of Mullumbimby, Photo Aslan Shand.

Mullum High year 12 students collecting donations for Brunswick Rescue Squad in the main street of Mullumbimby, Photo Aslan Shand.

Out in force collecting for their annual charity year 12 students from Mullumbimby High School have hit the streets with flare this morning now that classes are at an end.

They have chosen the Brunswick Rescue Squad as their charity this year.

The tradition has been going for as long as many locals can remember and each Wednesday after their classes have finished forever the students hit the streets collecting for their nominated charity.

Tomorrow will see them more formal attire as they have their presentations a the High School before they knuckle down for their last few weeks of study before the HSC exams begin in earnest on October 16.

Good luck to everyone as they head into the home stretch of the future of their lives.

The post Mullum High students get the groove on for charity appeared first on Echonetdaily.

08:46

Putting the bite on bitou Local News Echonetdaily

Bitou Bush. Photo Wikipedia.

Bitou Bush. Photo Wikipedia.

Chrysanthemoides monilifera or as its know to its friends, Bitou Bush, is native to South Africa, but the subspecies rotundata has manage naturalise itself along our coast and its not really welcome.

In an effort to eliminate Bitou, Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare volunteers plan to  host a day of Bitou Bush weeding with Shearwater primary students on Friday.

The event, coordinated by class 5 teacher Julie Marx, is part of the school celebration of the Spring Equinox.

The growing awareness of the devastation to our coasts by our desire to live and holiday by the sea was brought into the schools consciousness during Professional Development earlier this year, says Marx. This developed into a theme for our winter festival and now, with the spring equinox we would like the opportunity to bring the children to the dunes with a clearer picture of how we can support our precious coastline.

This also completes the head, heart and hands cycle, giving the individual a deeper understanding and relationship with this aspect of their past, present and future.

The group of up to 130 students and teachers will gather at Torakina Beach and walk down to the chemical free dune care site south of the Brunswick Surf Club.

Byron Shire Chemical Free Landcare project co-ordinator Nadia de Souza Pietramale says they are now working on the far south boundary of the site, where it joins Tyagarah Nature Reserve. There is less than one acre of Bitou Bush primary work to be completed, she says. There were more than 12 acres when we started.

Although it is a bit of a walk, it is amazing how much the volunteers have achieved in the last seven years and the high standard of the work.

The shape of the frontal dune has changed and Coastal Spinifex now catches the sand after storms where once the Bitou Bush formed higher dunes which were often eroded badly by storm waves.

Nadia says that s...

08:00

Conscientious objector loophole scrapped for child immunisation Local News Echonetdaily

The federal government's 'no jab no pay' laws take effect from Friday (March 18). Photo Shutterstock

The state government have closed the loophole for conscientious objectors. Photo Shutterstock

With the conscientious objector option now scrapped for parents who refuse to immunise their preschool-aged children, how will it affect the northern rivers region, an area known to have the lowest immunisation rates in NSW?    

Last Wednesday, the Public Health Amendment (Review) Bill 2017 passed in NSW parliament, closing the conscientious objector option and forcing all parents to have children immunised for preschool.

Specifically it targets principals of childcare facilities who enrol a child without a vaccination certificate or medical exemption. Fines of $5,500 apply. It follows the 2015 no-jab noplay policy which the then Abbott government rolled out across the nation.

Labors Walt Secord spoke to the changes in parliament.

He said, In 2014/15, the Byron Shire rate was 61 per cent, the Mullumbimby rate was 46.7 per cent, and Murwillumbah rate was 76 per cent. These are at dangerous levels. Across the northern NSW local health district, the vaccination rates for children under the age of two is just 84.9 per cent. That is the worst local health district in the state.

According to www.immunise.health.gov.au, the national immunisation program funds vaccines to prevent diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type B (hib), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), influenza (flu), measles, meningococcal, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumococcal, poliomyelitis (polio), rotavirus, rubella (German measles), tetanus (lockjaw) and varicella (chickenpox).

Throughout a childs early life, a program schedule by the government outlines when those vaccines are administered. At birth, hepatitis B is recommended, followed by bundled vaccines at the ages of two, four, six, 12 and 18 months. Another round of shots is recommended at age four.

Greens supp...

00:46

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators North Coast Voices


Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is de...

00:45

Australian society in 2017: national gaol population hits record high North Coast Voices



Australias jail population has hit a record high of more than 41,200 prisoners, as a 20-year surge in incarceration rates shows no sign of waning.

The daily average of full-time prisoners in custody rose 7% to 41,204 over the year to the June quarter, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

That represented a 133% leap in prisoner numbers since the June quarter of 1997, meaning the national jail population grew at more than four times the rate of the overall population over the last two decades.

The cost of running prisons in Australia is likely to have hit around $3bn a year, based on Productivity Commission figures.

Inmates on remand awaiting court sentences (11%) and women (10%) were the fastest-growing groups of prisoners over the last year.

Indigenous prisoner numbers rose 7% in line with the overall increase but they remain grossly overrepresented in jail, making up 2% of the general population but 28% of the prison population.

According to the ABS ...

Tuesday, 19 September

16:36

The rise and rise of the New England Writers' Centre New England, Australia

Under the energetic leadership of writer Sophie Masson, (web site here), the New England Writers' Centre (NEWC) appears to be going from strength to strength.

It's only a few years'ago that the Centre lost its State Government funding.and was forced to let its full time director go. I joined the Board at the time and remember the feeling of gloom that surrounded the Centre's future. It was hard to be positive.

I am no longer a Board member, but I was there during the beginning of the transformation period that has now made the Centre such a force, This was helped by renewed State funding achieved with local member Adam Marshall's support, but this was only possible because the Centre itself was transforming under Sophie's leadership.

Inland Armidale lacks the sex appeal and reach now attached to Byron Bay. With time, economic and social change its prominence has shrunk from the the putative capital of our own New England state to the point that it is sometimes described as just a country town. And yet, somehow, the city survives as a unique university, educational and administrative centre.

Armidale has always been a writers' hub. Relative to its size, the current population is around 23,000, Armidale has more writers than any place in Australia. It has its own tradition, its own writer schools such as the Armidale poets who form part of the broader web of the New England literary tradition. You won't find this tradition referenced in literary writing with its metro focus, but it exists. Armidale is not alone here, of course. The writers of the Northern rivers are also neglected. I think that you would find the same in North Queensland or the Riverina..

The thing that the NEWC does, I think, par excellence, is that it links local writers into the broader networks required to have a chance in the competitive world of literature. There was a period in the dark days when the NEWC focus narrowed to just Armidale. Now the Centre is again extending its reach beyond the city.

Even though I am no longer a Board member, I am just so proud of what the Centre has achieved in recent years.  Well done to...

12:29

Bluesfests first artist announcement for 2018 is their biggest ever Byron Bay Blog

Bluesfests first artist announcement for 2018 is their biggest ever. Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters return to thrill audiences with their much loved music. 2018 is the 50 year celebration of Led Zeppelins first ever performance. This milestone event will be celebrated at Bluesfest when they perform a number of Led Zeppelin classics. International superstar Lionel Richie will bring his full arena spectacular to Byron Bay this Easter. Local legends The John Butler Trio and Tash Sultana head up the Australian contingent, and CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers and The New Power Generation will bring the funk during their electric, high-energy sets.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble comments on the announcement:

Well here it is, the first of our announcements for Bluesfest 2018, and what an announcement it is! Lionel Richie, Robert Plant, The New Power Generation, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers, Jose Gonzalez, First Aid Kit plus two of Australias greatest artists The John Butler Trio and Tash Sultana, who is on fire right now.

There is lots more from Morcheeba, the amazing Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real! Eric Gales and the California Honeydrops returning by popular demand from the last festival. We have lots of Blues in this announcement too and we are just getting started. We are going to have a great festival in 2018! Hope to see you there.

Music lovers from across Australia will visit the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend (Thursday 29 th March to Monday 2 nd of April 2018) for the 29 th Annual Bluesfest. During the Festival they will enjoy 12 hours of music each day on multiple stages, incredible food and market stalls and on site
camping in a range of accommodation options.

THE 2017 ARTIST DAILY PLAYING SCHEDULE IS AVAILABLE ON BLUESFEST.COM.AU

Festival and Camping tickets are now on sale through...

11:37

Beach Hotel in Byron sold to investment company Local News Echonetdaily

Aerial view of Byron Bay's Beach Hotel, which is for sale for $75 million. Photo supplied

Aerial view of Byron Bays Beach Hotel, which has sold for an estimated $70 million. Photo supplied

The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay is once again changing hands with The Australian reporting that it has sold for $70 million.

Impact Investment Group, a Melbourne based firm, has confirmed to Echonetdaily that they are expecting that contracts for settlement will be exchanged in around six months some time in February 2018.

We have a strong network in Byron Bay and will be working with the current tenants, said a Spokesperson for Impact Investment Group.

The community can take confidence that working with the community is something that Impact Investment has done and will continue to do.

Its an iconic and much loved hotel. We are really excited about the possibilities to rejuvenate the hotel.

According to their website their mission is to shift capital towards investments that blend financial returns with deep social and environmental impact, and to lead by example in using all of our resources to create the world we want to live in.

The Australian reported that Impact Investment is a private equity firm believed to be backed by the wealthy Liberman family that has more than $400 million in funds under management. Investors include wealthy individuals, families, institutional investors, corporations and foundations.

Amusingly the owner, racing car driver, Max Twigg, had a week earlier denied to The Australian that he was selling the hotel stating that, I am a happy owner, I have been for ten years.

Echonetdaily contacted The Beach Hotel but no comment will be available on the sale until General Manager, Elke van Haandel, returns from her overseas trip in late September.

The post...

10:57

Change the world one action at a time Local News Echonetdaily

Repower Byron Shire Launch took place at Nina Bishop's house on Sunday, September 17 during Sustainable House Day. Photo supplied.

Repower Byron Shire Launch took place at Nina Bishops house on Sunday, September 17 during Sustainable House Day. Photo supplied.

Have you been wondering how to take action on climate change and reduce your carbon footprint? Repower Byron Shire, launched on Sunday 17 September, is helping the Byron Shire community do just that.

ENOVA, Zero Emissions Byron and COREM have come together with Byron Shire Council to encourage people in the shire to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy use.

Two streets have been selected, one in Mullumbimby and one in Byron Bay that will be run pilot program beginning in late September that hopes to see the entire street reduce its carbon footprint by transitioning to renewables.

These locals have already embraced the concept and street champions have been identified. Once we have had a chance to see how the program can run practically on a small scale, it will be launched into the wider community, says Byron Shire councilor Jeanette Martin.

Repower Byron Shire Launch From left Ben Franklin, Renewable Energy Secretary, Dave Rawlins, COREM, Sandi Middleton, Enova Community Cr Jeanette Martin, Byron Shire Council and Tiffany Harrison, Zero Emissions Byron. Photo supplied.

Repower Byron Shire Launch
From left Ben Franklin, Renewable Energy Secretary, Dave Rawlins, COREM, Sandi Middleton, Enova Community Cr Jeanette Martin, Byron Shire Council and Tiffany Harrison, Zero Emissions Byron. Photo supplied.

The campaign will focus on three st...

10:50

Ballina Ocean pool design being considered Local News Echonetdaily

The latest concept design for the proposed ocean pool at Ballina's Shelly Beach. Image supplied

The latest concept design for the proposed ocean pool at Ballinas Shelly Beach. Image supplied

The prospect of swimming in a shark-free ocean pool at Shelly Beach has moved a step closer after the engineering design brief for the Ballina Ocean Pool was sent out to a number of consultants recently.

The assessment will look at the coastal processes involved in the construction and operation of the pool, including the impacts of wave action on the pool, possible changes to sediment movement in the area, water quality inside the pool, wave overtopping behaviour and pool flushing.

Ballina Deputy Mayor and committee member Jeff Johnson said the purpose of the report is to provide an understanding of the performance and behaviour of an ocean pool at Shelly Beach and the impact, if any, on the ocean processes nearby.

This will help in the assessment of how well an ocean pool at Shelly Beach will work and will influence the final design chosen, Mr Johnson said.

The Ballina Ocean Pool Committee has been putting this brief together for some time now and it is the culmination of lots of preliminary research, he added.

Other reports underway include an assessment of the marine ecology on the Shelly Beach rock shelf and whether the pool can provide an enhanced environment for the existing flora and fauna, said Cr Johnson.

These studies are being undertaken by Professor Peter Harrison and the Marine Ecology Department at Southern Cross University.

Our intention all along was to design an ocean pool that is interactive with the ocean and has minimal ongoing maintenance. Those two elements will form a key part in the final design, Cr Johnson said.

Local structural engineer and Ballina Ocean Pool Committee member, Peter Lucena has been working on the design brief in conjunction with internationally renowned coastal engineer, Doug Lord, who has been providing assistance on a voluntary basis. Hes an expert in his field and has also held senior government positions and been on numerous advisory panels.

Its a real boost for our committee to have that expertise onboard to help e...

10:35

Tamara to take police petition to Parliament Local News Echonetdaily

amara Smith receives the Alstonville community petition from Rod Clavan (left) outside the Alstonville Newsagency. Photo supplied

amara Smith receives the Alstonville community petition from Rod Clavan (left) outside the Alstonville Newsagency. Photo supplied

Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith met with Alstonville community representatives over the weekend to receive their petition for police officers to be stationed permanently at Alstonville.

Ive met with members of the community, our new permanent Alstonville police officer Sean Daley and Inspector Bill McKenna to discuss the impacts of youth crime in Alstonville, she said.

An elderly resident was terrified during a recent robbery and as far as Im concerned we need a zero tolerance on crime in our peaceful village and the police agree. This has gone well beyond vandalism and graffiti.

Thankfully we now have a dedicated police presence and hopefully before Christmas the second officer will be appointed and take up residence in the station, said Ms Smith.

I will present this petition to the NSW Parliament this week. I am thankful to the business owners and community members who have signed the petition. It will bring attention to the fact that NSW Police are hamstrung by their human resources policies which do not allow them to replace officers who are on sick leave, maternity leave or other long term leave.

Our police are taking the issue of youth crime in Alstonville seriously. Once again I ask anyone who feels unsafe or in danger to please call 000 and they will be responded to, said Ms Smith.

The post Tamara to take police petition to Parliament appeared first on Echonetdaily.

10:34

Festival extension approved at Parklands Local News Echonetdaily

Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016-17. The 2017-18 event will not be able to operate at the North Byron Parklands site unless the operators receive an extension to their trial. Photo David Lowe

Falls Festival Byron Bay 2016-17. The 2017-18. Photo David Lowe

North Byron Parklands, home to Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass, has been granted a 20-month extension to its five-year trial by the independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC).

The original five year trial period ended on December 31, 2017, leaving two days of the Falls Festival without permission to go ahed.

The approval now means that the Byron leg of the Falls Music and Arts Festival 2017/2018, Splendour in the Grass 2018, Falls 2018/2019 and Splendour 2019 will go ahead at North Byron Parklands, organisers said.

Other than the extension of time, there were no additional changes sought in the application.

North Byron Parklands general manager Mat Morris said, The decision provides certainty, not only for the two world class festivals held at this site, but for hundreds of local businesses and individuals who generate income from these events. The decision also reflects the ongoing improvements to performance across a range of key areas such as traffic and noise.

Community association unhappy

However, the South Golden Beach Community Association vice-president, Denise Nessel said, The PAC ignored major concerns about ecological and social impacts, accepting Parklands claims that the events have only a negligible effect on the sensitive ecological area and that they are appropriately managing all the social impacts.

The PAC appears to have spent minimal time reviewing the detailed submissions sent by objectors. The quick decision strongly suggests that they had made up their minds to approve the extension before the public hearing.

Land swap

North Byron Parklands is now in the process of putting together its final application to become a permanent music, arts and community events...

09:21

Community input sought on Casino to Mbah rails Local News Echonetdaily

NRRAG at the Murwillumbah station. Photo supplied.

NRRAG at the Murwillumbah station. Photo supplied.

The question of community input into if, and how the train or rail trail should proceed is being questioned by Tweed Shire Council mayor Katie Milne at the next council meeting on September 21 in Tweed Heads.

I have a notice of motion on this Council agenda regarding my concerns about whether the community as a whole has had much involvement or input into this very expensive project, said mayor Milne.

The Greens mayor will then also be speaking at an open public forum about the rail corridor from Casino to Murwillumbah, to be held at the Murwillumbah Community Centre from  6pm on Monday September 25.

Beth Shelly from the Northern Rivers Railway Action Group (NRRG) said, We are not aware of any consultations that have taken place with the community and there are issues that many people are not aware of and this is an opportunity to share this information.

Other speakers who will address the forum include  NSW Greens transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi and  Northern Rivers Railway Action Group member Geoff Reid.

Come along and grab the opportunity to discuss real public transport options for the future. An eight train a day commuter rail service that extends to the Tweed and Gold Coast is the big picture for this region. Connecting cycleways with rail and buses to develop an integrated plan to get cars off the road will cut transport emissions and deliver real transport and ecotourism outcomes for all people, continued Shelley.

We are totally supportive of having both the rail trail and the train. In Victoria there are areas where they have rail trails beside the trains that works well.

Dr Mehreen Faruqi says, I would like to talk about the shambles that is transport planning from this government as well as the need for a sustainable...

08:51

Lismore among top 10 for rooftop solar in Australia Local News Echonetdaily

How Lismore compares: one of the top 10 postcodes in Australia for renewables. Source Clean Energy Regulator

How Lismore compares: one of the top 10 postcodes in Australia for renewables. Source Clean Energy Regulator

More than 11,000 households and small businesses in Lismore have made the switch to renewable energy, making it the postcode with tenth most solar panels in the country.

Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme postcode data released yesterday by the Clean Energy Regulator reflects a geographically diverse spread of installations, particularly in suburban, regional and rural areas of Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.

The postcodes of Bundaberg (Qld), Werribee and Hoppers Crossing (Vic) have accumulated the highest number of small-scale renewable energy installations since the scheme began in 2001, each reaching around 17,000 installations as at 1 September 2017.

Lismore Community Solar Project 's solar farm on the roof of the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre. Photo courtesy Rainbow Power Company.

Lismore Community Solar Project s solar farm on the roof of the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre. Photo courtesy Rainbow Power Company.

In fact, over the last 10 years, 23 per cent more Australians have embraced rooftop solar. Thats one in five homes and businesses now generating their own renewable energy and reducing carbon emissions through rooftop solar.

Last month, Australia hit a milestone of 6,000 megawatt capacity across 2.8 million small-scale installations of renewable energy systems such as solar PV systems, solar water heaters and air source heat pumps. Thats enough to power 1.8 million homes.

How to participate

The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme provides incentives for households and businesses to install small-scale power generation or reduce electricity use through energy efficient hot water systems. It works by creating a market for renewable energy certificates. For m...

08:38

Tweed marriage equality banner erected Local News Echonetdaily

The marriage equality banner being erected near Twin Towns in Tweed Heads. Photo AME

The marriage equality banner being erected near Twin Towns in Tweed Heads. Photo AME

Today commuters in Tweed will be greeted by an eight-metre long banner in support of the YES vote for Marriage Equality.

Tweed Equality Campaign spokesperson Peter Waters said, Our message is that LGBTI Australians live, work and participate in regional and rural areas. We are your neighbours, friends, employees, employers and customers.

When Tweed locals drive through town they will be reminded that this is not a faraway campaign in the big cities, but that we are asking for their support as locals. We believe that our gay and lesbian community members, family, friends and neighbours should have the same opportunity to marry as everyone else.

Cam Hogan, the North Coast Equality Campaign spokesperson, added, Were encouraging everyone to open their mail today, tick YES and send it back as soon as they can. We hope that the banner reminds people driving home tonight how it important it is that they vote now, and vote YES.

This postal survey is about one thing only, and that is giving every Australian the right to marry the person they love.

We want this banner to show LGBTI people across Tweed that they are not alone during this challenging time and encourage everyone to vote YES.

Tweed residents can support the YES Campaign for Marriage Equality by:

  1. Pledging their YES vote
  2. Host a calling party!
  3. ...

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