It what will come as yet another blow for Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, a media release issued today by Country Labor Candidate for Bega, Leanne Atkinson, says that Labor will not endorse the Council's rural land strategy
Ms Atkinson said " Daley Labor Government will not endorse the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Rural Land Strategy in its current form."
Ms Atkinson has confirmed that "there are still many concerns that have been identified by the community and stakeholders that need to be addressed before the strategy is signed off by the Planning Minister."
“When so many specialist state agencies, local business owners, and hundreds of people in our community all voice their concerns, the government must listen and act,” she said.
"If elected in March, a Daley Labor Government will send the strategy back to the council to address the widespread concerns identified in 500 submissions, in a transparent manner." “When experts such as the Rural Fire Service, Department of Primary Industries, Office of Environment and Heritage, and Local Land Services are all raising concerns, they should not be ignored or dismissed,” said Ms Atkinson.
Country Labor is particularly alarmed that the councils has ignored specific concerns identified by the NSW Rural Fire Service about the impact of the strategy on bushfire safety.
“I am also deeply concerned by silence of the local member, Andrew Constance,” she added.
“Mr Constance owes the community an explanation about why he has been mute on this issue when the strategy has been so strongly opposed by experts, local businesses, and the community.”
“It is essential that the issues that have been raised by the community, landholders, farmers, oyster growers, firefighters, and specialist agencies are addressed.”
Above: Leanne Atkinson with Long Beach residents Greg & Dinah Irvine
This announcement will not auger well with the Eurobodalla mayor who is now fighting fires on several fronts with her community ranging from poor planning decisions being made in Batemans Bay to claims of fiscal irresponsibility for the removal of parking fees and the reduction in fines for illegal parking in Batemans Bay without a measure of the consequences in loss of revenue. The parking fees had been established to reinject funds back into the Batemans Bay CBD by way of improvements. The loss of these fees and the subsequent decision by Council last year to be just one of eighteen councils across the State to reduce parking fines from $120 to $80 will see the issue return to the chamber in 2019 as councillors reassess the extent of financial loss and opportunity for the Batemans Bay CBD. While the Mayor has continued to say that she is "listening to the community" the continued backlash over the Rural Land Strategy and now the building community backlash over the proposed Mackay Park Leisure centre is beginning to bite just eighteen months out from the next Council election. Whilst there has been a considerable injection of State and Federal funds into the shire the Mayor to date has few runs on her own scoreboard that she can claim credit for as most of the projects currently on the table were initiated prior to her term as mayor.