NSW Premier and Deputy Premier 23-1-2017
Dear Ms. Berejiklian and Mr. Barilaro
I write on behalf of the Northern Rivers Guardians, Inc whose membership of more than 600 are dedicated to responsible development in our area.
We congratulate you both on your recent elevation to high office. We hope that you will adhere to the highest standards of public service and remember that you are there to serve, not to rule.
We want to raise with you a few issues that are hot topics around here:
1. Local decision-making : The broken campaign promise when the Coalition first took office that planning decisions will devolve back to local Councils. We oppose the use of state power to impose developments on local populations against their will. The JRPP is unable to give fair consideration as their record of approving developments shows. We are happy that Mr. Barilaro has said that he will oppose forced Council amalgamations. If there is any good reason to take away the most direct access to democratic governance, we would like to hear it.
2. Fossil fuel mining does not deserve a place in this region, or any region which wants to be “Fit for the Future.” Please rescind mining licences that are detrimental to local industries and/or health. Remove heavy penalties for people who protect us through action to preserve our environment.
3. Marijuana: Legalising marijuana for medical use is a no-brainer. Get on with it. Talking about it while people suffer or get arrested at police discretion is not good enough. Many time people in the Northern Rivers have suffered major police paramilitary raids, which are totally inappropriate to this mainly peaceful area. We recommend decriminalising recreational use of marijuana as well to alleviate social discord and help reduce the problem of prison overcrowding in NSW.
4. Environment first : Please take all possible action to assist the planet to avoid the harmful effects of climate change. The proposed container deposit scheme needs to be expedited. All committees should consider the environment as a first priority. The economy cannot grow without a fully protected environment. We have no other planet to leave for future generations.
5. Rail transport : Please bring trains back for passengers in our area and connect to the Gold Coast. This should focus on commuter trains rather than distant connections. Electric trains will help reduce pollution and traffic congestion.
6. Land clearing/ wildlife corridors : The community expects government to regulate to preserve native flora and fauna. The recent legal changes could allow for self-assessment by landholders. Please ensure that well-credentialed officers are empowered to oversee land use and resourced to prosecute illegal land-clearing. We welcome recent announcements of funding to help connect habitat for wildlife corridors.
Please acknowledge receipt of this letter and provide responses to any anal issues raised.
Northern Rivers Guardians
PO Box 309 Murwillumbah, NSW