UN-WELCOME SIGN: The new sign out front of the Backpackers Inn in Shirley Street.
UN-WELCOME SIGN: The new sign out front of the Backpackers Inn in Shirley Street. Contributed

Pressure stays on for Wicked ban in Byron

THE one-sided war of words over Wicked vans with obscene and sexist slogans continues, with plenty of words coming out of Byron Shire but a resounding silence from the owner of the Queensland business that operates the vans.

Byron local Paul McCarthy kicked off the local campaign against the vans, gaining plenty of support locally from residents and council. But he has been frustrated by perceived inaction by the Queensland Attorney General, who needs to change state laws to clamp down on the vans.

Even local backpacker hostels are on board the anti-Wicked slogan bandwagon, with The Backpackers Inn in Shirley St installing a sign letting it be known that vehicles displaying offensive language and/or images are not welcome on the premises.

"I'm nicknaming the Queensland Attorney General Yvette D'Ath 'The Mirror' - every time I ask what they are doing about the vans they tell me "we are looking into it".

In a statement, Ms D'ath said, "I understand clearly the level of community concern about the vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that are frequently displayed on these vehicles."

"However I have no intention of boosting this company's blatant grab for attention by giving them free publicity in the media."

Mr McCarthy said, "They have had ample time to do something about this. I think they are putting their heads in the sand waiting for it to all die down."

Mr McCarthy had more success recently when he appealed to Byron Shire Council for support.

Acting general manager Mark Arnold said letters had been sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Local Area Commander of NSW Police and the premiers of Queensland and NSW.

"A motion has also been lodged for the upcoming Australian Local Government national conference," he said.

"Investigations are being completed on determining what other measures council can take... this includes signage at entry towns, banning the vans from council- managed caravan parks and reviewing the Byron Development Control Plan."



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