Welcome to our Media Release page
The ERA publishes media releases to keep the press up to date.
Below are our latest Media Releases and our archive:
ERA Press Release - 13 November 2015 - FARMERS REJECT USE OF NATIVE VEGETATION OVERLAY IN RURAL LEP
At recent public meetings called by Eurobodalla Shire Council to allow land owners to consider the draft Rural Land Strategy (RLS) attendees voted decisively to reject the proposed incorporation of a native vegetation overlay in the rural local environment plan. Also, many farmers let council’s consultants know that they objected to the length of the process and the consultants’ failure to incorporate previous public comment in the strategy. Others said they resented the fact that they were being asked yet again to raise their concerns, which have been known to council’s planners for at least five years.
Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association spokesperson Councillor Liz Innes said, “Attendees could not have been clearer in their opposition to the use of the vegetation overlay in the proposed LEP. No one spoke in support of its use and members of the RLS committee spoke against it.”
“ While the strategy deals with the major issues raised by farmers in the past – E3 zones, smaller minimum lot sizes, and more housing entitlements it fails to come to grips with the fundamental issue – the least costly way for farmers to comply with legislated environmental restrictions on their private land. Remarkably, the consultant described a policy of protection of private property rights as “controversial” and likely to offend the planning bureaucrats“
“The ERA rejects the consultant’s argument that dropping the earlier proposed use of an E3 zone strengthens the need for a vegetation overlay as a helpful pointer to other legislated environmental restrictions. It is ironic that one reason given for this substitution is that it reduces the necessity for a higher level of map accuracy required for an environmental zone. Given the extensive legislated controls on farming operations these days, farmers and buyers of rural land (and their advisers) need to exercise ordinary due diligence in discovering all the restrictions applying to rural land. This is best done by reference to primary legislation rather than by relying on inaccurate overlays forming part of prescriptive and rigid land use planning regulations.’
Councillor Innes continued, “And given the farmers’ opposition to the consultant’s other proposals in the draft RLS I will be pressing the RLS committee to recommend to council the removal from the LEP of all E zones and overlays, all references to biobanking, voluntary biodiversity agreements and rural landscape guidelines. I will be supporting smaller lot sizes than are proposed and further housing entitlements on rural blocks. “
“Farmers know from long experience that guidelines and “helpful suggestions” from bureaucrats have a habit of being turned into black letter law over time. Overlays are not legally required and not used by many NSW rural councils”
Councillor Innes concluded “The views of the public meeting attendees were so strongly and clearly expressed that they must be acted on by councillors. I call on Mayor Brown to bring the RLS process to a swift conclusion by supporting the immediate completion of the LEP in line with the community’s wishes.
EUROBODALLA RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION
Release October 29th, 2015 - Mayor appears to have "No
Idea" regarding amalgamation
Shire Councillors went behind closed doors at the Council meeting of 28th
Oct 2015 to decide our fate about amalgamation. If you watch the webcast
right near the end you will see that the Mayor could not even bring himself
to say the word “amalgamation” in public; he called it “the
other matter”. This is how determined our councillors are to exclude
us from the conversation.
Dear Mr Gifford
Let me put it to you as simply as possible.
Imagine one has a dentistry practice and the business is going well.
In fact, recently you had an external consultant in and they told you
that your business is fit for the future and you are serving your customer
base well. Your finances are in good order, as are your assets. Then one
day, someone from ERA (not sure who they are or what they represent these
days) says that you should take on two other practices that lose money
hand over fist, after they joined forces, whose assets are in disrepair,
their books are a shambles and their customer base small but geographically
big (9000 sq km with crumbling roads and bridges) and the people not happy.
ERA thinks it is a fantastic idea to use the hard earned dollars of Eurobodalla
shareholders to bail out two failed practices to the west on a vibe.
Clr Pollock reply
Clr Burnside reply
Thanks for your email. Great to see you using tact and diplomacy in your usual artful way.
Your observation regarding Councils merging is correct. Last Tuesday, the Government released IPART's findings on the 'Fit for the Future' process which found about 2/3rd's of Councils didn't make it by their criteria.
Fortunately, Eurobodalla, along with our neighbours, Bega and Shoalhaven, originally deigned by the State to be 'stand alone' Councils, demonstrated that they conformed to the requirement to be fit, and are not being considered for amalgamation. This hasn't stopped us forging ahead with an MOU with Bega Shire to get more economies and use our close similarities to our mutual advantage. I heard Andrew Constance on the radio last week too, and noted that he's no longer looking at coastal Council mergers but is wanting us to look west to develop scale of operations.
Naturally, when he said that, our Mayor called his Palerang counterpart and was told that they were simply not interested in continuing the argument and would draw a line in the sand as a 'stand alone' Council, daring the State to sack them which they probably will do.
Funds from the State supporting amalgamations are made available to Councils which agree to merge, individually and collectively. No funds would be made available for us to merge with Palerang as they don't agree.
Palerang is a Council formed a few years back by amalgamating Braidwood and Bungendore, two financially unviable Councils, into one -- as it turns out -- great big unviable Council. It's a basket case -- small pop., huge road system (1400km of roads; 700 of them dirt - 30% of their budget spent just on them) small rate base and no money. What on earth would there be to gain by us taking them on? Bungendore and Queanbeyan are virtually commuter suburbs of Canberra and Braidwood has historic links -- educational; business etc. with Goulburn so there's absolutely no 'community of interest' either.
If you can form an argument that demonstrates that Eurobodalla and Bega ratepayers (also Bega State seat electors) would somehow be better joining with their unfit tablelands neighbours taking on a raft of problems that we simply don't have, then I'd love to hear it.
If, however, i don't hear from you in 48 hours I'll file your email under 'here goes Ron again armed with half the facts'.
Yours in tact and diplomacy,
2015- Eurobodalla Shire should consider looking West - Council Amalgamations.
The Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association (ERA) wishes to advise that following the release of the IPART’S Fit for the Future results Eurobodalla Shire is now placed in a very exciting position.
As indicated by our local member Andrew Constance there are two Councils, Palerang and Queanbeyan to our west which have been deemed “unfit”. Both of these Councils have much in common and have shared interests with Eurobodalla.
More than thirty per cent of Eurobodalla rates are currently paid by the folks to our west; they choose to buy homes here and holiday on the South Coast. Our common interests include farming communities, rural and small businesses, tourism, and strong community interest in road safety on the Kings Highway; a combined effort would see the road vastly improved.
Eurobodalla Council (ESC) is a member of the South East Region of Councils (SEROC), which includes Palerang and Queanbeyan. The current, and previous Council, communicated the value of SEROC membership to ratepayers. These regions share our interests and would want to help build and share our future prosperity.
On ABC Local Radio, Member for Bega Andrew Constance continues to challenge councils in his electorate to think beyond being found ‘Fit for the Future’ to what they can do to ensure ratepayers get value for money and the services and infrastructure they deserve.
The answer seems clear. Eurobodalla
Council has 30 days to broker a deal with Palerang and Queanbeyan to voluntarily
merge. Council can then tap into the recently announced new Stronger Communities
Fund, which provides each new council up to $15 million to invest in community
infrastructure projects such as an Aquatic Centre or a Performing Arts
Centre, and $10 million for each new council to ensure that ratepayers
do not pay for the up-front costs of merging. This funding is only available
to those mergers agreed to by councils and the NSW Government.
The ERA backs a merger between Eurobodalla, Palerang and Queanbeyan. It is an unexpected gift out of the ‘Fit for the Future’ process. It’s a chance to re-energise the shire, create jobs and opportunities for families and young people, and build better transport links.
For the interest of ERA members and supporters. September 11th, 2015
|PRESS RELEASE 17th March
The ERA remains your organisation committed to applying the principles taken to the last election.
The resignation from ERA of Neil Burnside and Peter Schwarz is of itself no big deal. The fact of the matter is they have not had the maturity to see beyond personality differences with their fellow ERA Councillors so as to continue to work according to the ERA principles for the rights of ratepayers. A clear example of their breach of faith with those who voted for ERA was their motion at Council to pursue a Special Rate Variation which was 8% at the time. This was not and is not ERA policy. Currently ERA has sent a submission to IPART recommending a 1.2% rate increase to be matched by a 1.2% efficiency savings by ESC.
In some delusional way Burnside and Schwarz have justified their resignations by the absence of Mr Bradstreet who supposedly “was supportive of our position on a number of council policy matters”. Mr. Bradstreet can speak for himself, but it is a matter of record that he strenuously opposed Burnside and Schwartz on their SRV proposal. He spent countless hours trying to persuade the two to support the ERA submission without success.
An elected councillor’s job is to be highly critical of the operation of Council by the bureaucracy. They are the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the ratepayer; being critical does not mean condemnation, it means analytical improvement and scrutiny of process. It has long been a battle with these two individuals to have them understand the separation of responsibilities. At committee they became apologists for ESC rather than the elected representatives of ratepayers.
Councillors are in the public domain as their actions can affect people’s lives at the core. It should be noted that these two councillors resigned from ERA by stealth. Their press release was and is the only notification the Committee received of their resignation. After the effort members of the ERA Committee put into resolving the interpersonal problems of councillors, I personally find their mode of action to be as disappointing as it is revealing.
The ERA remains your organisation committed to applying the principles taken to the last election. It also remains a non-profit voluntary organisation. We will have our moments.
|PRESS RELEASE February
EUROBODALLA RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION CALLS ON EUROBODALLA
SHIRE COUNCILLORS TO SLASH THE SPECIAL RATE VARIATION
RELEASE 25th August, 2014.
The South Coast Regional Sea Level Rise Planning and Policy Response Framework is currently on exhibition. The report presents the guidelines on how Council is going to incorporate sea level rise projections into the development and planning controls of your properties. It is suggested that all ratepayers visit Council's website and carefully read what the draft policy has in mind for defining what land will be subjected to sea level rise and what restrictions will be imposed to that land.
A LONG OVERDUE STAND AGAINST STIFLING OVER-REGULATION - ERA POSITION PAPER 1 JULY '14
In the past week, the ERA has
come under fire from some sections of the development community for our
stand against bio - certification.
PRESS RELEASE Monday, 26 May 2014
ERA councillors call for removal of E3 zoning from Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan
Wed, Mar 19, 2014
COUNCILLOR LESLIGHT RESPONDS
Dear Editor Bay Post,
You have taken me to task for withdrawing my three sea level rise motions to amend council’s interim sea level rise policy at last Tuesday’s council meeting and proposing the alternative of an informed discussion with the community at a public workshop. (Editorial, Bay Post, 14 March).
I did so, not to play political games, but because I was persuaded by my colleagues that the motions were premature. They believed that, if the interim policy is to be changed, greater community understanding of the sea level rise issue and council’s policy is required. Also, they were concerned that the ERA’s opponents would move to keep faults in the design of the policy and the economic and social implications of these faults away from community view.
A public workshop, with invited technical experts, is one way to engage the community.
The interim SLR policy, which is based on very high future sea level rise estimates imposed on councils by the last NSW labor government, is costing ratepayers much more than is necessary. These extra costs arise because the last council chose to impose restrictions on a wider area than was done by other coastal councils operating under the same directive. And no assessment of the impact of this wide application was done at that time.
Additionally, council’s inflexible administration of the policy by, for example, not allowing consultants reports to be used for similar adjacent land, adds to costs.
Furthermore, council’s practice of not notifying land owners of the changes to the hazard warning notifications required by law is insensitive and unjust.
Because we are years away from a final policy these faults in the interim policy need to be fixed now. Otherwise, uncertainty will continue to be reflected in higher development costs and affected property resale markets will remain in the doldrums.
In passing responsibility for SLR policy to councils, the NSW government has invited the use of local “evidence” based data and shorter time horizons for future projections. Andrew Constance, the member for Bega, last week urged council to take up this opportunity.
The longest and most reliable set of past land based sea level rise data available in NSW (measured at Fort Denison) was ignored by council staff last time around. We need to know why.
Let me assure you that there is “hope for the owners of properties identified at risk of sea level rise that the issue will be addressed with common sense. “ Consistent with the ERA objectives of better, more transparent governance and management at council, ERA councillors will actively pursue improvements to the interim SLR policy and their understanding and support in the community.
This task is made easier by the Bay Post’s interest in desirable change at council.
Councillor Milton Leslight
Eurobodalla Shire Council
| MEDIA RELEASE - 15
Amendment/lost motion re Batemans Bay Marina.
The Eurobodalla Council's meeting last Tuesday descended to a new low when a motion to establish a committee to explore the idea of a new deep water marina in Batemans Bay was effectively killed by being amended to require Clr Schwarz to arrange meetings with a range of state government departments first. (see below)
"It was yet another example of petty politics getting in the way of bringing economic development to the shire" Clr Schwarz said. " It would be fine if any of those who chose to vote down the motion had any suggestions themselves, but, to a person, they have never come up with one positive idea" he added.
"Regrettably, the Council "Old Guard" of the Mayor Lindsay Brown and his failed predecessor Clr Fergus Thomson, with the support of Clrs Harding and Brice continue to frustrate and hamstring any vision at all and, disappointingly, can't see that we have huge economic and structural problems in the shire which require our active attention", Deputy Mayor Neil Burnside said, in support of Clr Schwarz.
"The old way of operating in the shire was for councillors to take on the persona of a staff member acting as a rubber stamp for staff suggestions, which suited the capacity of many of them," Clr Burnside said. "But the lack of prosperity in our community calls for a much more involved council -- something that's being actively resisted at every turn by the reactionary attitude of the "old guard" and some others", Clr Schwarz said.
see the motion and amendment
-16 July 2012
EUROBODALLA RATEPAYERS DISAPPOINTED WITH MINISTER'S APPROVAL OF "SWISS CHEESE" LOCAL ENVIRONMENT PLAN
The Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, has approved the controversial and incomplete Eurobodalla Local Environment Plan 2011. This plan, which introduces inaccurate environmental overlays, excludes areas of rural land wrongly assigned an E3 zoning by Eurobodalla Shire Council staff.
Gary Smith, deputy chair of Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association (ERA), commented:
"It is disappointing that the Minister did not listen to the people of Eurobodalla Shire and direct the council to finish the LEP. Many rural land owners will now have a patchwork of both old and new zonings on their land and will have to live with the practical difficulties and uncertainty this creates."
"The shire's rural zoning plan is now like Swiss cheese - full of holes and on the nose!"
"The development of the LEP has been plagued by delay, poor management, inadequate direction by the mayor and councillors and a failure to listen to the people. The E3 zoning and overlay problems, which first emerged in 2009, should have been fixed by now. Andrew Constance, the Member for Bega, has been tireless in speaking up for the community by pursuing council on this particularly poor piece of governance."
"In the circumstances it is vitally important that the new Rural Land Strategy Steering Committee, to be chaired by Ian Armstrong, considers, as its first priority, E3 zoning and the misuse of poor quality environmental overlays. The ERA would like to see Mr Armstrong's report on these matters with the Minister by November."
Mr Smith concluded: "Failure to deliver an integrated LEP acceptable to the community after ten year' work is this council's legacy. Let's hope that the councillors elected in September have the competence and commitment to finish the plan in line with the community's wishes."
Media inquiries: Greg Malavey
Read The Ministers press Release here
Media release - 14 January 2011
ERA meet to ratify Constitution
A committee meeting of the ERA will be held on the 24th January as previously announced to adopt a model of association commonly used by small voluntary groups and similar to the Canberra ratepayers association.
The finalization of incorporation brings no change to the aims or operation of the ERA which have been heavily supported by the community at large.
At the conclusion of a short formal meeting members of the Committee will be available for a “meet and greet”.
release, April 28, 2010
New group to speak for ratepayers
with us towards a better local government in our beautiful shire!