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Open letter to The Hon. Andrew Constance, MP for Bega

The Beagle Editor, Your readers following the progress of the Rural Lands Strategy might be interested in a letter I have sent to the local Member for Bega.

Dear Hon. Andrew Constance,

I urge you to reconsider your position of support for the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Rural Land Planning Proposal and its extreme changes to the Shire’s Local Environment Plan that are a major concern of 6 state government agencies.

Community members have come out in substantial numbers to express their opposition to unsustainable coastal development that will significantly impact on more than a quarter of the Shire, including threaten life and property, destroy agricultural land and livelihoods, diminish water resources, devastate the oyster industry, spoil the tourism industry, endanger threatened species, and destroy the many forest and wetlands in the area. It is obvious from the community reaction that the Council’s whole of community consultation has been a sham.

Minister Constance, you and NSW Liberals have so far not accepted the concerns of DPI Agriculture, Local Land Services, DPI Water, DPI Fisheries, OEH, and large sections of the community when you recently said the farmers have waited long enough and the Coalition would be signing off the Planning Proposal once the Planning Department had addressed fire issues raised by the Rural Fire Service.

In early January 2019 the ALP Candidate for Bega, Leanne Atkinson, has publicly stated that a NSW Labor Government would send the Planning Proposal back to Council and require that they properly address the concerns raised by six State Government agencies. At a Community Forum in February 2019 Leanne Atkinson re-confirmed NSW ALP’s position and Will Douglas from the NSW Greens said they would do the same. In addition, both are committed to reviewing the consultation processes of the Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Your professed concern for farmers is at dramatic odds with rural industries wellbeing. DPI Agriculture and Local Land Services both state the Proposal is incompatible and inconsistent with primary production or rural industry expansion. In November 2018, 23 oyster farmers and investors sent a statement of concern to the Planning Minister requesting that he reject the Eurobodalla Shire Council's Rural Lands Strategy/Local Environment Plan. If implemented in its current form, it would devastate the Eurobodalla Oyster Industry, our 2nd biggest industry behind nature coast tourism.

I am asking you to reconsider your support and for you to urge the Minister for Planning to reject this Planning Proposal until all 6 state agency concerns are accepted and genuine community consultation has occurred.

Yours sincerely,

A Concerned Bega Electorate resident Name and address supplied


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