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A most extra-ordinary council meeting - the Rural Lands Strategy is adopted

The Ordinary Council meeting of Tuesday August 28th 2018 was far from ordinary. In fact it was a marathon that celebrated democracy at work.

Above: a well organised protest display greeted those attending Tuesday's Council meeting to resolve the Rural Lands Strategy - Photo by Eurobodalla350 With over twenty speakers registered to present to the Public Forum it was destined to be a long day that saw the generosity of a discretionary extra three minutes to any five minute presentation removed and though the protocols remained with Councillors McGinlay, Mayne and Constable raising their hands to allow speakers an extension of time only one speaker of the day was granted that privilege having driven from Wollongong to make presentation. The primary issue on the table was the Rural Lands Strategy and it was clear from those assembled that there were many differing perspectives of what the strategy was, what it would allow and what the consequences of its adoption might be. Some spoke of possible sedimentation, of likely compromises to waterways and marine life. Others spoke of the warnings given by the Rural Fire Service, the Department of Primary Industry and the Office of Environment and Health in regards to identified issues and risks with speaker after speaker suggesting that Council heed the submissions. The following represent some of those submissions: Katherine Maxwell Julie Mills David Grice Allan Rees And while there were those who spoke against the Councillors voting for the Strategy without modifications there were those who came forward to describe a farming perspective. There was the "old school" offering a sagacious warning that over-zealous environmental constraints would further cripple an already pressured farming industry. Another spoke of the long road of ten years to date of preparing the strategy, to arrive at the point of the vote which, in his opinion, had been inclusive of the farming community whilst delivering to a perspective that best represented the flexible requirements for continued viability of local agriculture in an ever changing climatic world. While the perceived farming face of the strategy has been the generalised leather necked, cow cocky with a dusty hat, a blue heeler saddled with a stoic disposition today's council meeting also revealed two fresh perspectives of modern farming via the informed, eloquent and passionate presentations of Cheryl Blessington and Amanda Thompson. Following the many well crafted and often opposing presentations it came time for Council to deliberate on the volumes of opinion that had been presented by mainly informed, passionate presenters marrying those presentations with the 600+ submissions they had already received and considered to date. Through the course of the deliberations that followed there was clarity, exasperation, some volatility, and some light relief from Councillor Tait adding his bent from left-field. During the whole process the gallery generally remained polite enabling the motion to adopt the Strategy to be carefully discussed, considered and then determined. At the end of what was to be a mammoth session the councillors voted seven against two (McGinlay and Mayne) to adopt the strategy.

Video: Cheryl Blessington and Amanda Thompson presented submissions to the Ordinary Council meeting of Eurobodalla Council August 28th, 2018 in regards to the Rural Lands Strategy Proposal that was voted for 7-2 Read Cheryl Blessington's Submission HERE

Read Amanda Thompson's Submission HERE Read Keith Dance's submission HERE

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