Ruckus at council meeting

THE public access session of yesterday’s Byron Shire Council meeting turned into a shouting match.

Jack Johnson, who introduced himself as ‘one of your homeless’, said Byron rangers were behaving ‘like brutal animals’ to people sleeping rough.

At 2am on a recent Sunday, a ranger and two police officers had harassed a family of four camped at a beach site at Brunswick Heads, he said.

“Every homeless person has a legal right to camp on the beaches,” Mr Johnson said. “I’m asking you to come from the heart here. You’ve got to give the homeless a break.”

Ratepayer Chris Cusack chimed in to say he was ‘disgusted’ with council’s ‘three-minute policy on social justice’.

There had been many suicides among homeless in the shire, he said.

Mayor Jan Barham said council rangers were not rostered on at 2am and that staff would investigate the alleged incident.

Council had made ‘substantial financial allocations to support the homeless’, she said.

Councillor Ross Tucker was shouted at by the two men and members of the public joined in on both sides.

Mr Cusack later apologised to the councillors for his behaviour.



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