Workshop not good for some

AN offer to hold a free community workshop to explain recent changes to vegetation legislation raised suspicions and hackles at the Nambucca Shire council meeting on Thursday night.

Councillor Anne Smythe wanted the council to host a workshop staged by Nambucca Valley landcare and the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), but even though it would be at no cost to council or participants she couldn’t win over a majority of her colleagues.

“I went to a similar workshop in Coffs Harbour and the feedback was extremely positive,” Cr Smythe said.

“The workshop is about legislation not litigation and empowers landholders by allowing them to find out how legislative changes impact on them and who they can contact to get more information.”

But Cr Elaine South, a dairy farmer, was having none of it.

“Farmers have had so much information shoved at them and already know the legislation so I doubt any would bother to turn up,” Cr South said.

Cr John Ainsworth agreed and Cr Mike Moran said a workshop lead by the EDO would be seen as an insult to farmers.

Cr Brian Finlayson also spoke against the motion

“The EDO is not seen as a friend by farmers. I could only support this if it was run by the Catchment Management Authority,” he said.

Cr Paula Flack questioned why a workshop run by the EDO would be seen as an insult to anyone.

“No-one would be forced to attend so I can’t see how it would upset anyone,” Cr Flack said.

“This is a great opportunity for all landholders, not just farmers, to get great information about very important legislation at no cost to them or council.”

Cr Smythe said she was disappointed her motion was lost.

“But I’m still hopeful the workshop will go ahead under the guidance of Nambucca Valley Landcare,” Cr Smythe said after the meeting.



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