Council is ?bad? environmentally



OF all the councils between Newcastle and the border, Tweed Shire is the most disappointing when it comes to environmental conservation.

Giving evidence at the start of the fourth week of the inquiry into the council, Department of Environment and Conservation officer Brendan Diacono said there was little balance between development and conservation in the shire.

"What you would hope to be a balance between development and conservation works out to be (for) develop- ers only," he said.

"We get involved in developments like Casuarina or Salt, whatever, and spent a lot of time .?.?. talking about how a development might go ahead and still provide conservation.

"What comes on the other side of the approvals process we find out years later are modifications that further water down environmental protection methods."

Mr Diacono said this was a major concern because the North Coast, in particular the Tweed, was one of the most biodiverse areas in all of northeastern Australia.

He rejected claims sandmining had destroyed the conservation value of coastal land, and said it had merely reduced its value.

Mr Diacono supported the submission of the department's director-general that said land to be developed was knowingly degraded over time before environmental studies were done.

He said this reduced or wiped out threatened species and in turn the development application was approved.



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