Byron Shire Council (BSC) has voted to support the “Clarence Valley Council [CVC] community in seeking a moratorium on future mining and mining exploration in the Clarence Valley catchment”.
Six of seven councillors at BSC’s August 5 meeting (planning) supported mayor Michael Lyon’s notice of motion (NOM), which also “advocates [BSC’s support of CVC] to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean”.
Cr Lyon advised councillors in his NOM that he was “contacted by the Clarence Catchment Alliance [CCA] on behalf of Clarence Valley ratepayers and visitors, 10,000 of whom who have signed a hard copy petition opposing mining exploration in the Clarence Valley catchment”.
“The Clarence Valley LGA, whilst not bordering Byron Shire, is only two shires to the south along the coastline and water from the Clarence River flows out to our beaches,” he wrote.
“The CVC has recently written to neighbouring water catchment councils to ask for support on their decision and to ask for those councils to act likewise.
“The CCA is writing to Byron Shire Council as many of the signatories on the petition, and many of their followers on social media, are from our LGA, with particular support from the surfing community (and surfing internationally).
“They have asked for Byron Shire to join with CVC and CCA to oppose mineral mining in our water catchment area.”
Cr Lyon’s pitch to his council also included an attachment of statements from a diverse group of objectors, including the Lions Club of Clarence – Environmental, the Yamba Chamber of Commerce, Troy Cassar-Daley – Australian country musician and Gumbaynggirr / Bundjalung representative, Brad Roberts – farm manager at Trublu Prawns, Garry James Anderson – fourth generation Clarence River commerical fisherman, David Copperthwaite – tour operator, Surfrider Foundation and Clarence Valley’s current citizen of the year, Hayley Talbot.
Ms Talbot, who was the first person to solo kayak the Clarence River in 2017, from its northern source to the ocean, wrote, in part, in her contribution, “The Clarence River, which is the lifeblood of the Clarence Valley, is not merely a river system of cultural, ecological, social and economic significance, but a true national treasure”
“…Having extensively traversed the licence areas, the risks are even greater, with ridgelines that angle immediately down into the river.
“It is impossible to mine these areas and guarantee there will be no collateral damage.
“The black summer bushfires decimated these sites, and the floods earlier this year would have similarly spilled any tailings dams directly into the river.”
Mr Cassar-Daley wrote, in part, “No matter if you are black or white, we have a responsibility when it comes to our land now and, in particular, our rivers.
“We fish in them, swim and camp at places that have been inhabited for thousands of generations and we need to pull together to protect them.”