This page is dedicated to celebrating major, hard fought decisions which protect communities and the environment.

Australia has no Human Rights Charter, and it certainly has no Residents Rights Charter either. For Resident Groups to influence decisions which affect their lives so disastrously is extremely hard won. Planning systems in this country have been skewed to benefit individual wealth rather than community or environmental health, particularly in NSW where the state govt’s best trick is to introduce legislation- even retrospectively to allow them to support developers. Local resident communities bear the immense cost of the enabling of predatory developers by bankers using our money to fuel boom and bust building cycles. Money does not make the world go round- it skews people’s perspectives about what is important, and skews decision makers into acting against the interests of the general community.

This is despite the fact that principles of Ecological Sustainable Development (ESD) are required to be considered. The NSW Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 outlines the principles as:

  • The precautionary principle (when in doubt- don’t!)
  • Inter-generational equity (consider your grandchildren’s grandchildren)
  • Conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity
  • Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms (ie real valuations need to be attributed to community and environment)

The principles of ESD were adopted by the Australian Commonwealth and State Governments in May 1992, through the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE).

JULY 2009

Another win for Hastings Point. The Interim Development Controls that have taken the community 12 years of fighting for were upheld this week by the Tweed Councillors and their Planning Department. A DA which had already once been knocked out in the Land and Envt Court had been resubmitted yet again. Residents appreciate that most Councillors (excepting those who consistently refuse to declare conflicts of interest and always vote to support their mates’ developments) are finally appreciating that the character of Hastings Point, and the fragile estuary must be protected, and the Planning Dept which finally had a Director with some integrity.

JULY 2009

Congrats to Shane Withington and the Currawong crew for achieving the Premier’s award. Let’s hope Shane was able to get the message through to him that the NSW Govt is destroying its own nest.

JULY 2009
Congrats again to the folks of Mullumbimby, and to the Byron COuncillors for upholding their integrity to vote down an s68 variation which would have enabled Woolworths to go ahead building the ‘sewer on the bog’.

JULY 2009
Also congrats to the ‘little folk of East Dapto for their victory over another multinational

JUNE 2009 Congratulations to the Mullumbimby residents and to the Byron Council who recognised that allowing a major supermarket chain into the village would spell the end of the quiet amenity that has been enjoyed by residents there for generations. It seemed somehow appropriate that the whole argument was literally brought unstuck by a ‘sewer in a bog’!

JUNE 2009 Well done Tathra where the residents also credit their local Councillors for providing sufficient support for them through refusing consents which were enough to knock out a Part 3A application.

Just goes to show what happens when local councillors support the rights of existing residents and are prepared to enforce laws and regulations that are reasonable rather than the NSW state govt’s attempts to introduce legislation to completely over-ride resident rights.

MAY 2009: CONOS has won its challenge against Byron Shire Council and Splendour in the Grass Pty Ltd. Today the Land and Environment Court held that the development consent for the Splendour in the Grass music festival on

lands at Yelgun is void and of no effect.  The judgment is available for anybody who is interested. In real terms this means that the high conservation value lands the subject of the DA including the regionally significant wildlife corridor linking local coastal eco systems to world heritage hinterland eco systems are protected from significant disturbance and high impact activity.

The corridor can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief – or we can on its behalf.

MAY 2009

Hastings Point residents and Council avoid yet another court case when one group of developers concede defeat in their attempt to overdevelop by putting land up for sale.

Hastings Point residents take on developers in the NSW Court of Appeals. Success here will mean the voiding of a DA and hopefully orders to demolish huge buildings which should never have been constructed.

APRIL 2009 Hastings Point residents had a major win in council. It has taken us 10 years and 9 council meetings to get through interim development controls that will be in place now only until our village plan is completed at the end of this year!The interim controls are for 2 storey height limits and 2 dwellings per lot -max. Thanks to Mayor Van Lieshout, Cr Holdom, Cr Milne and Cr Longland for their vision and application of law.

APRIL 2009 The Minister’s office has rejected the Currawong Development submitted by EcoVillages. It is believed that the entire site will be added to the State Heritage Register. This landmark decision was a great victory not just for Currawong but also for community groups across NSW. The Minister:

  • refused the residential development at Currawong
  • ordered the entire site to be State Heritage listed
  • referred any future proposals for the site to Pittwater Council.

Her media release was very interesting and has implications for all the other inappropriate developments proposed across NSW.

“I received the best expert advice and detailed comments from the community, I went and saw the site, and based on that I have decided to refuse the application,” Ms Keneally said. “My decision followed thorough and considered canvassing of the facts and local community opinions, including more than a year of rigorous assessment and community consultation. “This was a development proposal for a unique and pristine area which warranted the significant review process it went through”

The presence and loud protest of so many groups, including yours, at the Rally Against Inappropriate Development late last year obviously sent a powerful message to the Minister that the community at large is angry and that environmental and heritage values must not be ignored.

I urge you to read not just the media release of the Minister but also the IHAP report and Director General’s assessment, accessible via http://www.friendsofcurrawong.com . These documents provide community groups with invaluable information as we plan our campaigns to protect our environmental and heritage treasures. The decision to refuse the .DA. for Currawong is a significant victory but, as for the many NSW community groups and associations, our fight is not over. The Friends of Currawong will continue the battle to have Currawong protected forever. Currawong must be bought by the Government and placed in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The Minister’s decision has demonstrated the power of the community. Shane Withington On behalf of the Friends of Currawong


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