Community resistance to zombie development on hair trigger at Wallum


Hundreds of community members have descended at a zombie development site in the Northern Rivers this morning after reports that earth moving equipment was inbound to the site known as Wallum in Brunswick Heads. Despite thousands of people contacting the NSW Minister for Planning and the Federal Minister for the Environment, every level of Government has said they are not responsible for ensuring the critically endangered species are protected from destruction.

Tamara Smith MP, Member for Ballina, and Sue Higginson MLC, NSW Greens Environment Spokesperson, have reacted to the situation unfolding today.

Greens MP and spokesperson for Planning and the Environment Sue Higginson said “The swift and strong response from the community on the Northern Rivers this morning, in response to signs that Wallum is at imminent risk, is a signal of just how critical the crisis of zombie developments is in NSW,”

“For hundreds of community members to arrive at a site within an hour of a ‘red-alert’ being issued by organisers shows just how important it is that some level of Government act to ensure the site is adequate protected from development,”

“In the past week, both Paul Scully and Tanya Plibersek have failed in their responsibilities to ensure that the matters of national environmental significance that are present at the site will not be impacted by the Wallum development,”

“The NSW Planning Minister, Paul Scully, has admitted under questioning that no referral of a development has occurred from the NSW Department of Planning to the Federal Government since before 2019 and possibly longer. Critically endangered species are being tossed between levels of Government like a football with no one willing to take responsibility for the fact that zombie developments are driving extinctions here in NSW,”

“If neither the NSW Government or the Commonwealth Government are willing to act to prevent zombie developments from causing extinctions, communities will increasingly be forced to take protection of the environment into their own hands,” Ms Higginson said.

Tamara Smith MP, Greens Member for Ballina said, “It is utterly disgraceful that a big developer has chosen to send bulldozers to the Wallum Estate, especially in these weather conditions where protestors are unable to coordinate a response. Our communities are being forced to put their bodies on the line in the pouring rain in defence of our threatened species.”

“The developer arriving on the site today in these weather conditions risks the safety of members of the community and workers, as well as putting pressure on our police and emergency services personnel in extreme weather conditions. It is disgraceful behaviour.”

“Again and again, locals are being forced to step in and do the job of governments by defending the environment. This situation would have been entirely avoidable if Tanya Plibersek and Paul Scully had developed the courage to stand up to developer interests and call the Wallum development.”

The State Planning Minister’s failure to see any urgency in the genuine concerns raised by our community, local ecologists, and the Greens about the threats to biodiversity at Wallum is emblematic of the attitude of Labor at state and federal levels. I am appalled at the cowardice of Labor governments in choosing to side with developer interests over the wishes of our community. There is no social licence for this development - our community does not want housing that they cannot afford in exchange for the extinction of species.”