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Watch, rescind, repeat – Rural Boundary Clearing Code once again up before Council on Thursday

Feb 15, 2022

 

It could well be the most heard Council motion in the Chamber, as this Thursday at 6pm the contentious Rural Boundary Clearing Code (RBCC) once more comes up before councillors, this time in an Extraordinary Meeting.

 

It’s the only item on the business paper and is an attempt by independents, Labor, Greens, and Shooters and Fishers, to bring the Code back – so to once again rescind it.

 

This latest Motion – brought by the Green’s Danielle Wheeler, and independents Mary Lyons-Buckett and Nathan Zamprogno – calls for the “substantive motion” made on January 25 to be rescinded. That Motion rammed through on January 25 by the Mayor using his casting vote, opted into the RBCC without any expert or public consultation.

 

If the move this Thursday is successful, it’s likely there will be an attempt to pass a Motion for public and expert consultation and to look into geospatial mapping before deciding whether to opt into the Code or not – so, back to the beginning.

 

But of course, there could be further twists with this one…

 
 

Here’s a snapshot of what’s happened so far….

 

What?

The Rural Boundary Clearing Code allows landowners to remove 25metres of vegetation around their properties to help protect against fire.

 

What impact could that have?

According to a Council report, potentially 15,800 hectares, some 5.7%, of the Hawkesbury, could be cleared of vegetation.

 

Is the Hawkesbury in?

No. The Hawkesbury was not one of the local government areas to be included. To be included, councillors had to opt in.

 

What happened, and when?

· October 2021 – In the last Council (elections were in December) a clear majority decided to seek expert and community opinion, as well as examine availability of geospatial mapping, before making a decision whether to opt in to the RBCC or not.

· December 4 – a new council is elected.

· January 25 – Liberal Mayor Patrick Conolly rams through – he uses his casting vote which gives him 2 votes – a decision to rescind the original Motion. That means the Council opts into the code without expert opinion of public consultation.

· February 8 – independents, Greens, Shooters & Fishers, and Labor try to reverse the January decision and rescind once again. That would mean community and expert opinion back in the mix before a decision whether to opt in.

· But The Liberals manage to keep their opt-in to the Code by adding a Motion asking for a report “on the methodology and funding available to map our koala populations, as well as how this information could be used to protect them”. Once again the Mayor uses his casting vote to get this one through.

· February 17 – the indies, Greens, Shooters and Fishers, and Labor will try to bring it back once again and are likely to attempt to revert back to the original public consultation before a final decision is made on whether to opt in.

 

· The meeting will be live streamed via Council’s YouTube channel and begins at 6pm.

 
 
 
 
 

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