Clarence Valley Independent

Scarred tree

Ed,

Thank you for your update (CVI 28/11/18) where we learnt that the next phase of the process will be a Restorative Justice Conference before the financial penalty (fine) is applied.

I understand this is a repeat offence. At the time of the first fine, circa 2015, Council of the day undertook to provide education about scarred trees to staff. Training was the term used.

This key requirement of the last settlement apparently did not occur.

With the GM of that time no longer working at council, I believe a GENUINE Restorative Justice Process cannot occur without the remaining two accountable persons being involved, the then Mayor, still a Councillor, and the Director of Works and Civil whose directorate the staff who removed the tree, work in.

Despite apologies in the paper and in council sessions, a face to face apology is the one that tests the real sincerity of “sorry”. As well as to hear first hand whether, as of today, the Council has conducted a thorough training program.

There were alternatives available, which I find no record of having been pursued.

In as far back as around the 1930’s the scar was preserved by carefully retaining the affected part and placing the scarred section of the trunk in a museum for generations to see and most importantly understand.

With education this process was an alternative to be put to the Bundjalung people, before as after, in this case, is too late.

Stan Cousins,
Yamba

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