Steven Biedrowski and Nicole Stokes are shown their plots of land by property developer jonathan of the Eden Creek Community Project, who has seceded from Australia.
Steven Biedrowski and Nicole Stokes are shown their plots of land by property developer jonathan of the Eden Creek Community Project, who has seceded from Australia. Jay Cronan

Red tape spurs 'revolution'

UNHAPPY about his development application for a 22-share multiple occupancy being knocked back by the local council, a Kyogle man has announced he is leaving the shire and taking his land with him.

The man, who has changed his name to jonathon (in lower case), says he has seceded from the shire, indeed from Australia, and has applied for citizenship of a new sovereign state which calls itself the Free State of Australia (FSA) and claims to be recognised under international law as a religious state.

The FSA was created in August and so far boasts around 100 "citizens".

Mr jonathon said his 80ha Eden Creek property would now become a province within this new sovereign state, and would no longer be subject to the "burdensome" planning rules and regulations of Kyogle Council or NSW.

The new state will not change its currency or postage from Australia's, but citizens will shortly be issued with new driving licences, Mr jonathon said.

There will be no king or president, rather a group of elders will rule the new state, with citizens soon to decide upon the constitution. The 65-year-old former Uniting Church minister, turned property developer, turned anarchist, said his secession move was a "non-violent revolution".

"I decided to cut through the burdensome red tape of council and we will make up our own responsible and reasonable laws," Mr jonathon said.

Mr jonathon wants to build 22 dwellings on his Eden Creek property as part of a multiple occupancy, now known as rural land sharing. However the DA was knocked back by Kyogle Council due to old-growth forest and fire management issues.

Mr jonathon then appealed to the NSW Land and Environment Court, but mid-proceedings decided to "withdraw his consent" from Australia's laws, leaving the council to work out how to recoup its costs.

The council said it would be applying to the court to dismiss the case and award damages in its favour, while Mr jonathon has issued his own order for the council to attend the court of the FSA in March.

Kyogle Mayor Ross Brown said he did not recognise the new sovereign state jonathon was now a "citizen" of and said the issue had cost the council in the vicinity of $100,000 in consultancy and legal costs.

"Of course we do not recognise his secession," Cr Brown said.

If Mr jonathon moves forward with plans to develop and build on the property, the council will act, Cr Brown said.

"He does not have developmental approval and he'll be treated like any other resident of Kyogle if he attempts to develop without approval," he said.

After declaring himself a citizen of the FSA three weeks ago, Mr jonathon is forging ahead with his Eden Creek development plans, advertising shares in the MO from $55,000 for an acre and a quarter, with four new residents already living in caravans on the property.

Mr jonathon said he had "a lot of interest" in the new sovereign state.

Australia's Most Famous Micro-Nation

The Principality of Hutt River is the oldest micro-nation in Australia.

The principality claims to be an independent sovereign state, having achieved legal status on 21 April 1972, although it remains unrecognised except by other micro-nations.


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