We have stooped to gutter politics

IN my 31 years as councillor, I have not seen any attempt by the Narrabri council to circumvent normal council procedure to achieve a political  result as the actions that has surfaced in the last 48 hours. 

In a letter from a Mr Jim Casey, the state secretary of the State Fire Brigade Employees Union, he  informed us that someone from council wrote to the Rural Fire Service “for advice on clearing the community protest camp that we dealt with in council at the extraordinary meeting today (January 21)”.

These were the words of Mr Casey on direction of the letter received by him from Superintendent Brooks. 

Mr Jim Casey goes on to highlight the failed attempt by Forestry NSW to have the protest camp shut down as, “anything other than politically motivated”. 

It appears he said, “Council is using the RFS in the same manner “.

 It is a dangerous precedent he says to use a political tool to deal with a community protest. I’ll go one step further and say that as a council we have stooped to gutter politics in an attempt to achieve a desired result. 

The protestors at the camp are protesting in a passive manner.    They have been there for about 

17 months and have survived on donations of fuel from farmers, as well as water, firewood and groceries from the general public as they call in on their way to Boggabri to shop. 

 These protesters have earned the respect of the general public.  The procedure used by council,  to secretly ask the RFS  through Superintendent Brooks “to  find a way to clear the protest camp”,  is simply not the way council operates. We should pride ourselves in being above party politics. 

Cr Bevan O’Regan

Narrabri Shire Council