Council's answer around oysters and land clearing offers little assurity
In response to Councillor Anthony Mayne's question to staff of what assurances can Council provide to the oyster industry that there will be zero negative impact both in the short and medium term as a result of the Rural Lands Strategy council has responded saying the Council zoning of land does not, of itself, have impacts on the quality of native riparian vegetation and there will be minimal impact on the oyster industry as a result of implementing the Rural Lands Strategy.. Council have offered that "It is the development of land that can have potential impacts" suggesting where development requires consent from Council, the potential impacts can be assessed at the development application stage and if approval is granted, conditions can be applied to ensure impacts are avoided or minimised. Where clearing is proposed for agriculture, the NSW Local Land Services Act 2013 applies. They further suggest in their response to the Councillor that, where development requires consent Council cannot be liable and it is important to understand the Rural Lands Strategy only identifies development potential. "While the impact of potential development on estuaries in the Shire has been given detailed consideration, any future subdivision or development will require development assessment ensuring it is in keeping with NSW Government legislation and policy and has minimum impact on the oyster industry." Council does offer that if approval is granted, conditions can be applied to ensure impacts are avoided or minimised. Where clearing is proposed for agriculture, the NSW Local Land Services Act 2013 applies. Over the last month, the majority of oyster growers across the four oyster growing estuaries in the Shire have put their support behind a Statement of Concern in relation the Council’s Rural Lands Strategy. A spokesperson for the group told The Beagle "Oyster growers are deeply concerned about the implications of the Strategy. Oyster growing is one of the most sustainable agriculture enterprises operating anywhere on earth and in our Shire the rivers are so pristine oysters can be direct harvested - ‘farm’ to plate. Few oyster growing areas anywhere can boast this. The rezoning proposed in the Strategy will directly impact water quality along these estuaries and therefore our industry."