Notice of Meeting










Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee Meeting



A Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee Meeting of Byron Shire Council will be held as follows:



Conference Room, Station Street, Mullumbimby


Thursday, 6 August 2015







Shannon Burt

DIRECTOR SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMY                                                         I2015/815

                                                                                                                                    Distributed 03/08/15




What is a “Conflict of Interests” - A conflict of interests can be of two types:

Pecuniary - an interest that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person or another person with whom the person is associated.

Non-pecuniary – a private or personal interest that a Council official has that does not amount to a pecuniary interest as defined in the Local Government Act (eg. A friendship, membership of an association, society or trade union or involvement or interest in an activity and may include an interest of a financial nature).

Remoteness – a person does not have a pecuniary interest in a matter if the interest is so remote or insignificant that it could not reasonably be regarded as likely to influence any decision the person might make in relation to a matter or if the interest is of a kind specified in Section 448 of the Local Government Act.

Who has a Pecuniary Interest? - a person has a pecuniary interest in a matter if the pecuniary interest is the interest of the person, or another person with whom the person is associated (see below).

Relatives, Partners - a person is taken to have a pecuniary interest in a matter if:

§  The person’s spouse or de facto partner or a relative of the person has a pecuniary interest in the matter, or

§  The person, or a nominee, partners or employer of the person, is a member of a company or other body that has a pecuniary interest in the matter.

N.B. “Relative”, in relation to a person means any of the following:

(a)   the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descends or adopted child of the person or of the person’s spouse;

(b)   the spouse or de facto partners of the person or of a person referred to in paragraph (a)

No Interest in the Matter - however, a person is not taken to have a pecuniary interest in a matter:

§  If the person is unaware of the relevant pecuniary interest of the spouse, de facto partner, relative or company or other body, or

§  Just because the person is a member of, or is employed by, the Council.

§  Just because the person is a member of, or a delegate of the Council to, a company or other body that has a pecuniary interest in the matter provided that the person has no beneficial interest in any shares of the company or body.

Disclosure and participation in meetings

§  A Councillor or a member of a Council Committee who has a pecuniary interest in any matter with which the Council is concerned and who is present at a meeting of the Council or Committee at which the matter is being considered must disclose the nature of the interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.

§  The Councillor or member must not be present at, or in sight of, the meeting of the Council or Committee:

(a)   at any time during which the matter is being considered or discussed by the Council or Committee, or

(b)   at any time during which the Council or Committee is voting on any question in relation to  the matter.

No Knowledge - a person does not breach this Clause if the person did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the matter under consideration at the meeting was a matter in which he or she had a pecuniary interest.

Participation in Meetings Despite Pecuniary Interest (S 452 Act)

A Councillor is not prevented from taking part in the consideration or discussion of, or from voting on, any of the matters/questions detailed in Section 452 of the Local Government Act.

Non-pecuniary Interests - Must be disclosed in meetings.

There are a broad range of options available for managing conflicts & the option chosen will depend on an assessment of the circumstances of the matter, the nature of the interest and the significance of the issue being dealt with.  Non-pecuniary conflicts of interests must be dealt with in at least one of the following ways:

§  It may be appropriate that no action be taken where the potential for conflict is minimal.  However, Councillors should consider providing an explanation of why they consider a conflict does not exist.

§  Limit involvement if practical (eg. Participate in discussion but not in decision making or vice-versa).  Care needs to be taken when exercising this option.

§  Remove the source of the conflict (eg. Relinquishing or divesting the personal interest that creates the conflict)

§  Have no involvement by absenting yourself from and not taking part in any debate or voting on the issue as if the provisions in S451 of the Local Government Act apply (particularly if you have a significant non-pecuniary interest)


Clause 375A of the Local Government Act 1993 – Recording of voting on planning matters

(1)   In this section, planning decision means a decision made in the exercise of a function of a council under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979:

(a)   including a decision relating to a development application, an environmental planning instrument, a development control plan or a development contribution plan under that Act, but

(b)   not including the making of an order under Division 2A of Part 6 of that Act.

(2)   The general manager is required to keep a register containing, for each planning decision made at a meeting of the council or a council committee, the names of the councillors who supported the decision and the names of any councillors who opposed (or are taken to have opposed) the decision.

(3)   For the purpose of maintaining the register, a division is required to be called whenever a motion for a planning decision is put at a meeting of the council or a council committee.

(4)   Each decision recorded in the register is to be described in the register or identified in a manner that enables the description to be obtained from another publicly available document, and is to include the information required by the regulations.

(5)   This section extends to a meeting that is closed to the public.



Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee Meeting





1.    Apologies

2.    Declarations of Interest – Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary

3.    Adoption of Minutes from Previous Meetings

3.1       Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee Meeting held on 14 May 2015

4.    Business Arising From Previous Minutes

5.    Staff Reports

Sustainable Environment and Economy

5.1       Integrated Weed Management Strategy update............................................................... 4

5.2       Update report on Sustainable House Day, World Environment Day and Byron Zero Emissions Community Forum............................................................................................................ 8

5.3       Review of Committee's sub-working groups.................................................................. 13   




Staff Reports - Sustainable Environment and Economy                                     5.1



Staff Reports - Sustainable Environment and Economy


Report No. 5.1             Integrated Weed Management Strategy update

Directorate:                 Sustainable Environment and Economy

Report Author:           Angus Underwood, Team Leader Natural Environment

File No:                        I2015/503

Theme:                         Ecology

                                      Planning Policy and Natural Environment




An Integrated Weed Management Strategy (the Strategy) is being prepared in accordance with Council resolution 13-621.  The development of the Strategy is being informed by a series of stakeholder consultation activities including meetings with the Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee.


The purpose of this report is to provide an update to the Committee on the project work and consultation completed to date, and the process for a draft Strategy to be finalised for public exhibition.





That the Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee note the report.








Council engaged Australian Wetlands Consulting (AWC) to prepare an Integrated Weed Management Strategy.  As part of the development of the Strategy a series of consultation activities have been undertaken. Table 1 provides an overview of the process to prepare the Strategy.


Table 1 – Integrated Weed Management Strategy project timeline




24 March

Staff Working Group meeting 1 – engage consultants


23 April

Workshop 1 – Council Staff


14 May

Workshop 2 - Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee workshop


16 May

Workshop 3 – Landcare and Dunecare volunteers



Consultation with Far North Coast Weeds


29 May

Draft Strategy V1 submitted to Council staff


8 June

Staff working group meeting 2 – discussion of Draft V1

Complete. Feedback provided to AWC

1 July

Progress report to Executive Team


21 July

Strategy V2 submitted to Council staff


29 July

Report draft Strategy to Executive Team


6 August

Progress report to Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee

We are here


Staff working group meeting 3 – consider resource implications of draft Strategy



Report Draft Strategy to Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee



Report Draft Strategy to Council seeking approval for public exhibition



Public exhibition (minimum 28 days)



Review Submissions



Staff working group meeting 4 – discuss submissions and final amendments to Strategy



Final Strategy submitted to Council



Final Strategy reported to Council for adoption



The Landcare/Dunecare workshop included representatives from:


·    Brunswick Heads Community Dunecare

·    Green and Clean Awareness team

·    New Brighton Dunecare

·    Suffolk Park Dunecare

·    Brunswick Valley Landcare

·    Bangalow Land and Rivercare

·    Goonengerry Landcare

·    Wilsons Creek/ Huonbrook Landcare

·    Byron Shire Chemical Free Group


As part of each workshop detailed notes were taken regarding the discussions in order to inform the development of the Strategy. Participants also had the opportunity to provide a further written submission for consideration.


Although the impetus for the Strategy has come from the use of chemical herbicides, the Strategy seeks to not only address the concerns regarding herbicide use but also to provide a strategic framework to inform and direct Council’s weed management programs.


The draft Strategy being prepared is structured into three parts:


Part 1- Introduction and Management Context

This section provides background information, definitions, a summary and details of relevant planning matters.


Part 2 - The Strategy

This section sets the management framework and provides a list of actions to be undertaken in order to meet the project objectives.


Part 3 - Weed Management Review and Supporting Information

This section provides an overview of Council’s current weed management practices (including current herbicide use and risk assessment) and an assessment of alternative weed control methods available, which draws on experiences in other regions and local government authorities. This information has guided the actions prescribed in Part 2.


The draft Strategy has the following Aims and Objectives


Aim:  To effectively manage weeds on Council managed lands using an integrated approach which protects biodiversity, infrastructure and aesthetic values.




1. Reduce the impact of existing weeds on the natural and build environment and prevent establishment of new weeds


2. Improve understanding of weed ecology in order to improve weed management techniques


3. Evaluate suitable weed management techniques for Council to use as part of an integrated management approach


4. Eliminate the use of chemical herbicide in high use public areas by 2018 and reduce the use of chemical herbicide based on 2014 data across all other lands managed by Council.


5. Increase community awareness, education and participation in weed management

A main focus of the Strategy is to eliminate chemical herbicide use in high use public areas. The draft Strategy defines ‘high use public areas’ as follows:


areas of public land established and maintained for a range of uses by the community and which the primary purpose allows or promotes high level of use by the community.


These areas will be mapped and presented spatially in the Strategy.


The following definition of ‘integrated weed management’ has been adopted, which is the same as the definition used by the Federal Government:


Integrated weed management is the control of weeds through a long-term management approach, using several weed management techniques including physical control, chemical control, biological control and cultural control.


The draft Strategy is near complete. The internal staff working group need to meet to evaluate and prioritise the draft proposed actions with regard to resource and budget allocations prior a draft Strategy being finalised and distributed for comment. A further to the report to the Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee will occur to enable its review prior to public exhibition.


Financial Implications


No financial implication identified as a result of this report.


Statutory and Policy Compliance Implications




Staff Reports - Sustainable Environment and Economy                                     5.2



Report No. 5.2             Update report on Sustainable House Day, World Environment Day and Byron Zero Emissions Community Forum

Directorate:                 Sustainable Environment and Economy

Report Author:           Sandi Middleton, Acting Sustainability Officer

File No:                        I2015/644

Theme:                         Corporate Management





This report provides an update on the various sustainability projects that are happening and an opportunity to provide any feedback or suggestions in relation to these projects.






That the Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee note this report, provide feedback or suggestions in relation to funding options for BZE and/or volunteers to help project manage the process, and to share the Sustainable House Day event with networks.









Sustainable House Day 2015


The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition 2015 is now open to residents, architects, designers and young people in the Northern Rivers. Interested people can find more information and enter here -


The Sustainable Housing for Life Design Competition, Showcase Awards Event & Expo is a joint project with Byron Shire Council, Lismore City Council, Tweed Shire Council, The Green Building Centre, Nimbin Neighbourhood & Information Centre, North Coast TAFE, Rous Water, Byron Community College, Self Seed Sustainability & Dorroughby Environment Educational Centre. 


With a share of over $5,000 in cash and prizes, interested entrants are encouraged to visit the Sustainable House Day 2015 website

§ Entries close Friday 4 September 2015

§ Sustainable House Day Expo and Design Showcase & Awards - Saturday 19 September 2015

§ Entries will be displayed at venues in Tweed, Byron Shire and Lismore Council areas


2014 Design Competition winning entry from



World Environment Day 2015


World Environment Day 2015 was a great success with the theme being ‘Our Environment is Golden’. To celebrate, BVL, with support from Council, ran an environmentally focused photographic project with Brunswick Heads Primary School children and staff.


The project involved students learning about the local environment as part of the science curriculum. Alison Ratcliffe from BVL came to the school and ran a number of talks on weeds and feral animals. The aim of the talk was to familiarise the children with the work of Landcare and the basic principles of reducing weeds and feral animals to allow greater biodiversity of native plants and fauna. The children were also encouraged to think about what they can do to make a difference.


Students were then taken on a tour of the Suffolk Park Dunecare and Saltwater Creek Landcare sites by BVL project officer Melody Valentine, Brunswick Heads Primary School staff and a photography educator. During the tour they spoke to by site volunteers and a bush regenerator about regeneration work on the sites.  They were then guided to photograph the regeneration work and the local environment.  


Each student then had the opportunity to have images displayed as part of a walking photography exhibition around Brunswick Heads leading up to and including World Environment Day on Friday 5 June 2015 and the Old and Gold Festival on Saturday 6 June 2015.


A photo book of the project was created, including photographs by and of the students, and these were donated to the school, Council, and to libraries in Brunswick Heads, Byron Bay and Mullumbimby.


Brunswick Valley Landcare and Council then ran a stall during the Old and Gold Festival which distributed further information and resources about the photography project as well as information on other Council and BVL initiatives. Free plants and World Environment Day t-shirts were also distributed as part of the stall. Overall the stall was well visited on the day and over 20 people signed up to the BVL newsletter as a result.


The children’s photography is now being displayed in Council foyer as well as Stewarts Menswear for the next two weeks.


Lessons learnt from the project team:


What worked?

·    Working with the schools worked extremely well as not only did the children become engaged and up skilled but also the parents, teachers and P&C committee were also touched by the project. A P&C member subsequently contacted BVL asking for help regarding a different project, indicating the network and community that the project has helped to foster. The School’s principal has also expressed interest in an ongoing relationship with BVL.

·    The children and the school were very grateful and open to learning about weeds and loved the interactions of being in nature but having a task of taking photos to keep them focused.

·    The initial talk to the children to introduce the concepts of what is a weed/feral animal allowed the conversation to bring in other local environmental issues as well;

·    The children were very proud of their photographs, and celebrated their work in a special school assembly.

·    Offering free plants at the stall at Old and Gold helped attract people to the stall and enabled further dialogue to occur.


What could be done differently?

·    Create shorter excursions for the kids so as to not wear them out. As an alternative to the photography, future excursions could involve games such as ‘Weed Bingo’ to make it fun.

·    Instead of having the prints displayed in separate locations have a photo exhibition, perhaps at the school, so the story of the event can also be told and a fuller context provided. This would also involve the parents and wider school community.

·    Spread the organising role across at least 2 people, too much work for just one lead organiser. Discuss the idea of running a collaborative event in 2016 rather than one partner lead it to help spread the load.



Possible ideas for 2016

·    Clothes and plant swap at Old and Gold. In keeping with the theme of up cycling and re-using Council will facilitate a clothes swap for the general public and BVL will facilitate a plant swap (bring in a weed/plant for ID and get a native free in return).

·    Repair Cafe could also attend and run a short workshop on how to up cycle – i.e. make nesting boxes out of computer cases.





Byron Zero Emissions Forum


The inaugural community forum for the Byron Zero Emissions project was held on Sunday 21 June and was a great success with over 65 people attending the event held at the Cavanbah Sport Centre, Ewingsdale.


Mayor Simon Richardson opened the forum, sharing his recent experience of representing Byron Shire Council and Australia at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. His experience in Bonn showed him how important having a clearly articulated vision around being zero net emissions is and how it can inspire other international councils and communities to do the same.


Dr Stephen Bygrave, CEO, of Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) also spoke at the community forum, reminding attendees of the recent scientific data that confirms that we must act now and explaining, by drawing on the numerous BZE published sector plans, a strategic way forward for the Byron Shire to become zero net emissions.


Hannah Forrester, President of the Mullumbimby Community Gardens, then gave a brief overview of the numerous projects that are already happening in the Shire, helping us head towards zero net emissions. Five breakout working groups were then formed covering the areas of waste, transport, land use, energy and building were then formed and the groups workshopped a number of questions around next steps.


The forum was then wrapped up, and the next steps are for the five working groups to self-organise under the guidance of the Steering Committee. A common action plan template for each group will be created and from there information to ascertain a baseline of emissions will begin. The community were very excited and supportive of all the existing projects and the possibility of many more into a more strategic plan for the shire to become zero net emissions in ten years from now.


The project is still in need of funding for a project officer and volunteers to fill the role until appropriate funding is obtained so if the Committee has any suggestions please forward them to Sandi Middleton.


For more information or to stay in touch become part of the Facebook Group ‘Zero Emissions Byron’-


DSC08984  DSC09032



Financial Implications




Statutory and Policy Compliance Implications





Staff Reports - Sustainable Environment and Economy                                     5.3



Report No. 5.3             Review of Committee's sub-working groups

Directorate:                 Sustainable Environment and Economy

Report Author:           Sharyn French, Manager Environmental and Economic Planning

File No:                        I2015/785

Theme:                         Ecology

                                      Planning Policy and Natural Environment





This report requests the Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee to review the current sub-working groups and consider other opportunities that have arisen from committee members and the Low Carbon Strategy.






That the Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee confirm the need and format of sub-working groups.









At 13 March 2014, Committee meeting sub-working groups were formed to shift the previous primarily “review” function of the Committee towards a more action orientated focus and to specifically progress a number of actions from the Low Carbon Strategy and the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy review.


The following subgroups were formed to liaise with Council staff to work on a discrete project and meet regularly or be in regular email contact with each other to progress tasks. The subgroups reported their findings and progress to the Advisory Committee at each meeting to receive strategic guidance from the committee as a whole:


Commercial Organic Waste

·    Samala Heart (organiser)

·    Luke McConell

·    Carole Gamble – resigned

·    Rose Wanchap

·    Simon Richardson


Review of Biodiversity Conservation Strategy

·    Angus Underwood (organiser)

·    Kate Smillie

·    James Mayson

·    Peter Westheimer

·    Andy Baker

·    Donovan Adcock


Renewable Energy

·    Robert Rosen (organiser) – resigned 10 July 2014

·    Chris Sanderson

·    Dale Fallon

·    Simon Richardson

·    Rose Wanchap



·    Dale Fallon (organiser)

·    Donavan Adcock

·    Luke McConell


Sustainable Events

·    Luke McConell (organiser)

·    Samala Heart

·    Simon Richardson

·    Robert Rosen

·    Rose Wanchap


The Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee need to determine if these groups are still required.


Additional opportunities that the Biodiversity and Sustainability Committee could consider progressing through a subgroup include:


1.       SCU live ideas – Southern Cross University are currently seeking partners and projects for third year environmental science students.  See 


2.       Street lighting proposal to investigate turning off street lighting to save energy and money.  Council’s Low Carbon Strategy identifies an action regarding energy efficient street lighting.



3.       Action No 56 from the Low Carbon Strategy identifies the Biodiversity and Sustainability Advisory Committee, workshopping with staff, potential methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving peak oil preparedness




Financial Implications




Statutory and Policy Compliance Implications