Noel Plumb - 12 June 2018
Noel Plumb made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 12 June 2018.
Eurobodalla - Nature Coast not Naked Coast
Address to Council 12 June 2018 by Coastwatchers
We are dismayed that Eurobodalla Shire Council is seeking to remove very important environmental protections from our rural landscape, our beautiful Nature Coast, through its Rural Land Strategy Planning Proposal.
In 2012 Council released a draft plan which was a visionary blueprint for the Shire's future and included a number of conservation measures to protect our forests, rivers, wetlands and water catchments.
E3 Environmental Management This zone is for land where there are special ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic attributes or environmental hazards/processes that require careful consideration/management and for uses compatible with these values.
Council has now responded to a small minority of residents and business people who are mainly large land holders and or property developers by removing the proposed protection of E3 zoning over a large area of rural land, some 38,000 ha. In recognition of established usage, Council's proposed E3 zoning allowed for grazing and some other rural activities and essentially replaced earlier, similar protective zonings under the 1987 LEP. The current Proposal also removes the minimum lot size of 1000ha and allows significant subdivision.
Council now intends to zone all this land as RU1 Primary Production or RU4 Primary Production Small Lots but with an Open Land Use Table - in other words anything goes. Large landholders and property developers stand to benefit while the broad community faces the inevitable clearing of forested rural land and the steady degradation of Eurobodalla from the Nature Coast to the Naked Coast.
Council's Proposal also allows grazing without restriction in all E2 Environmental Conservation areas, some 4500 ha, including habitat for endangered species and sensitive wetlands. Wetlands are vital to the clean water of the Shire for drinking, farming, oysters and fisheries as well as the survival of many water birds and countless other species that depend on the unpolluted and undisturbed wetlands. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats and pigs etc. must not be allowed to destroy our wetlands and clean water
Council has dismissed significant objections to the Proposal by State agencies including the Rural Fire Service, the South East Local Land Services, the Department of Heritage and Environment, Department of Primary Industries - Water & Fisheries. Many of Council's changes are inconsistent with both advice from the agencies and Directions from the Minister for Planning. Council has also failed to consider the impact of forest clearing on climate change and the much weaker protection against land clearing under the new State laws that last year replaced the Native Vegetation Act. We want Council to withdraw this Proposal and review it together with expert State agencies and a genuine community advisory panel that is truly representative of the broad community, including several people with wide nature conservation experience.