Call to “Bring Back Democracy” During Council’s Next Term

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Cr Paul Spooner addressing a Meet the Candidates forum about plans to maintain a full democratic process over the full term of the next Council.

Cr Paul Spooner addressing a Meet the Candidates forum about plans to maintain a full democratic process over the whole term of the next Council.

DEPUTY MAYOR, Paul Spooner is calling on electors in the Byron Shire to support a push to “Bring Back Democracy” to the Byron Council.

Cr. Spooner says, “This term of council has clearly demonstrated that you cannot depend on the voting system to deliver democracy in the Byron Shire. In 2012 voters elected a progressive council but ended up with a conservative one.”

“This occurred when rogue real estate agent Cr. Rose Wanchap who was endorsed and elected as a Greens Party councillor started voting with a pro-development conservative group.”

“The result of Cr. Wanchap’s actions meant many planning decisions and strategies were shaped by this dominant group of conservative councillors.

“The list includes endorsement for large scale developments like West Byron and a Ewingsdale Seniors Living Proposal, adoption of the Byron Bay Coastal Zone Management Plan and the Byron Shire Rural Land Use Strategy.”

Cr. Spooner says, “A common theme emerging in my many discussions with residents is a desire to be more involved with council decision-making in their local community. This has been expressed to me in recent meetings I have organised in the lead-up to the council election on 10 September.”

At a recent Meet the Candidates forum in Mullumbimby the issue was raised by both candidates and audience members.

Citizen Panels & Local Precinct Committees

Cr. Spooner says, “Consultation mechanisms were raised by Monika Wheeler (Country Labor) suggesting the use of Citizen Panels and Malcolm Price (Our Sustainable Future) who mentioned Local Precinct Committees.”

“As a mayoral candidate I endorse the use of both Citizen Panels and Local Precinct Committees. Both mechanisms provide public involvement and endorsement for council decisions.

“It is sorely needed in the Byron Shire to heal the wounds caused by the corruption of the democratic process that occurred in the last council. To avoid this occurring again we need to change the way that council engages with the community.”

“There is major discontent in the Byron Shire due to the decisions of the current council. The next council needs to build back the trust lost through this corruption of democracy.”

“As a a mayoral candidate I commit to establishing both Citizen Panels and Local Precinct Committees in the Byron Shire.”

“This way voters can be sure that democracy does not stop at the ballot box but will continue for the next four-year term of council.”

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