Byron Bay businesses vow to boycott Netflix’s Byron Baes Instagrammer reality series

Byron Bay in northern New South Wales is defying conventional wisdom that says film and TV productions should be welcomed with open arms for the money and exposure they bring.

The Byron Shire Mayor is asking his council to oppose the production of Byron Baes, a reality TV series about “influencers” living in the seaside town.

A petition calling on business owners to refuse the use of their premises as a location has attracted thousands of signatures. 

Netflix declined to be interviewed, but in a press release it said the show would be a “docu-soap following a feed of hot Instagrammers living their best lives, being their best selves, creating the best drama content, #nofilter guaranteed”.

Byron Bay locals say the town deserves to be portrayed as more than just a haven for influencers.(

ABC North Coast: Hannah Ross


A ‘Truman Show’ portrayal

Mayor Simon Richardson said the show was “offensive” to the community. 

“We’ve almost got a Truman Show-type portrayal of who we are where everything is quite idyllic and superficial, where out the back it’s an empty parking lot,” Cr Richardson said.

“We’ve got a community that is in real stress, we’ve got a community that has real life issues dealing with housing, work, affordability.

“While we are here trying to deal with this as best we can, to have this pamphlet of an idea of who we are without any input by us.

Cr Richardson called on the producers to make the series in another town that would welcome the exposure or, if they were determined to stay in Byron, to engage with the people and the stories in the town in a more meaningful way.

He said the council’s hands were tied, however, when it came to stopping the production from happening.

Netflix promotional postcard with text describing Byron Baes.
Netflix says Byron Baes will feature “hot Instagrammers” living their best lives.(

Supplied: Netflix


He said NSW filming protocols required councils to facilitate filming in their areas unless there were exceptional circumstances, such as traffic management or crowd control issues.

Byron Bay International Film Festival director J’aimee Skippon-Volke said while the production could offer some work opportunities for people in the local film industry that drawcard was unlikely to get it over the line for most people in the community. 

“I think the very best thing that can come out of this production is the community coming together and really standing up for what they believe in and people having that reaffirmed to them about what Byron stands for,” she said.

A man with long blond hair sits outside a table at a cafe.
Cafe owner Ben Gordon declined Netflix’s offer of being a location for the production.(

ABC North Coast: Hannah Ross


‘Byron deserves better’

Cafe owner Ben Gordon was one among a list of businesses – including fashion behemoth Spell and boutique hotel Rae’s – that said no to Netflix when location scouts came knocking.

Mr Gordon said Netflix did not offer a location fee, just the chance of greater exposure and marketing opportunities.

“All the business owners need to realise is it’s not good for your business,” he said. 

“They will tout that it’s going to be seen by millions of people and that it’s free marketing but it’s not good marketing and you don’t want to be involved with that.”

Mr Gordon said, although he benefited from people posting shots of his cafe on social media, the Netflix production “crossed the line”.

“This is a show that is targeted to 790 million Netflix subscribers in America about people who aren’t actually from Byron,” he said.

“It’s really low and Byron deserves better.”

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Man charged with double murder after shooting in Queensland’s Moreton Bay

A man has been charged with the murder of two men following a deadly shooting north of Brisbane yesterday.

Police were called to a property on Lower King Street, Caboolture, just after 5.15pm where they found two men with gunshot wounds.

Witnesses allegedly told police a man was seen fleeing the area in a Toyota Yaris soon after the shooting.

The two victims – aged 23 and 37 – were pronounced dead and a crime scene was established.

Shortly after 7pm, police arrested a 24-year-old man at a service station on Beenleigh Redland Bay Road at Cornubia.

A Yaris was also found at the service station and was taken for forensic examination.

As well as the two murder counts, the 24-year-old Caboolture man has been charged with possession of a shortened firearm, unlawful possession of weapons and authority required to possess explosives.

He will appear in the Caboolture Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Police investigations continue.

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Apollo Bay shop owners devastated after fire destroys businesses after COVID lockdown

A popular Victorian tourist town has been left devastated after a huge fire destroyed a shopping strip, just as it tried to recover from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Fire crews were called after the blaze broke out on Collingwood Street in Apollo Bay about 3.17am on Wednesday after it started in a restaurant and rapidly spread to neighbouring businesses.

45 people were evacuated from the motel and firefighters were ducking for cover as gas bottles exploded.

The owner of the Chinese restaurant where the fire started is heavily invested in her businesses catering for tourists in Apollo Bay.

“I feel really sad and shocked,” Michelle Chen told 7NEWS.

The restaurant shutdown in March 2020 with the COVID pandemic stopping tourists from going to the town.

She said she had plans to reopen in the coming months.

Flames also spread to the Bluebird shops next door and hardware shop, destroying both.

“We’ve been through enough and to have this happen is quite devastating,” former owner of Bluebird, Lyn Munro, said.

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Salmon spread across the bay

Fortunately for some guys they managed to get out before the weather turned and managed to find some nice fishing.

A fair share of fish over 40 centimetres were finding their way into the mix.

After this strong blow we can expect the whiting bite to go bonkers over the next week or so.

The Bellarine Light Game and Sport Fishing Club held its annual King of the Rip convention at the weekend. Although the weather was less than favourable to the members some did find some good point scoring fish in sheltered water.

Swan Bay and the Geelong Yacht Club provided some good options with pinky snapper to just under a kilo in good numbers and a few silver trevally to 800g too. The Barwon estuary also had some good fishing on offer with trevally, salmon and mulloway all making appearances.

Lake Bullen Merri has been producing some really good chinook salmon fishing over the past week and as it’s a volcanic crater you can find protection no matter what the wind is doing.

Fat line trolling along the lake banks has been dynamite. Tassie Devils and minnow-style lures have been working a treat with fish to 1.5 kilograms holding in decent numbers.A few decent rainbow trot have been amongst them too.

Stoney Creek Reservoir has come back onto the radar this week with some nice captures of trout to 1.5 kilogram and redfin to just under a kilo.

Casting spoon-style lures have been deadly on the redfin, with a few trout deciding to eat them too and powerbait being the best bait for the trout.

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Victoria will soon consider all of Australia a ‘green zone’ after Brisbane, Byron Bay coronavirus risk downgraded

Victoria will downgrade the Brisbane, Gladstone and Byron Bay areas from “orange” to “green” zones from midnight.

The change means people travelling from those areas to Victoria will no longer need to quarantine and get tested upon arriving in the state.

Once that kicks in, every part of Australia and New Zealand will be considered a “green zone” under Victoria’s travel permit system.

Everyone entering Victoria needs to apply for a travel permit, which classifies areas as red, orange or green zones based on their coronavirus risk.

Green zone permit holders are free to enter the state with no other restrictions.

People coming from orange zones had to get tested and self-isolate until they got a negative test result.

Red zone permit holders needed to self-isolate for a full two weeks, even if they tested negative for the virus during that period.

But under the rules, people can only enter Victoria from red zones if they are a resident, have an exemption or qualify for a worker or transit permit.

It is more relaxed than the red zone rules that were in place late last year, which blocked Victorians from entering their own state.

Victoria designated the Greater Brisbane area a red zone late last month, after the Queensland government announced a snap lockdown in response to COVID cases detected in the community.

The Gladstone area, on the coast about 500 kilometres north of Brisbane, and the Byron Bay region in northern New South Wales, were designated orange zones.

On April 1 Brisbane’s red zone classification was downgraded to orange.

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Search continues for missing Brisbane man Trent Riley who fell from his boat in Moreton Bay waters

Mr Riley’s empty boat was discovered motoring 100 metres off Mud Island near the Port of Brisbane on Wednesday afternoon.

The 26-year-old’s disappearance has sparked a major search operation, involving Water Police, the Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Mr Riley’s friends.

Acting Inspector Mark Mooney said police had been in contact with the missing man’s mother.

“She’s aware the survivability after 24 hours is quite low which is very heartbreaking for her and the family and friends,” he said.

“We’re still holding out hope that we’ll bring him home alive to her.”

Mr Riley posted a video to social media two hours before his empty boat was found.

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Apollo Bay fire rips through restaurant on Collingwood Street

Dozens of people were evacuated as a huge fire ripped through a restaurant and neighbouring businesses in a Victorian holiday town.

Fire crews were called after the blaze broke out on Collingwood Street in Apollo Bay about 3.17am on Wednesday.

The restaurant was fully alight and it rapidly spread to neighbouring businesses.

A motel next door to the buildings was evacuated, along with nearby residents.

Two shops have been completely destroyed and four buildings gutted.

A hazmat vehicle also attended due to chemicals at the scene and an advice message has been put out for anyone who is sensitive to smoke.

Collingwood Street remains closed.

The CFA declared the scene under control by 6.30am.

Police said the cause of the fire is unknown at this stage and a crime scene has been established.

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Byron Bay local businesses hit out at Netflix reality influencer show

Byron Bay’s most sought-after local business have been knocking back approaches to be featured in a salacious Netflix reality series about Instagram influencers, as a petition to block its production nears 4000 signatures.

Last week, streaming giant Netflix announced it had teamed up with Eureka productions to create a reality series Byron Baes, that would explore “fights, flings and heartbreak” among social media influencers who are based in the idyllic town on the NSW far north coast.

The series had brought on Emma Lamb, a highly accomplished reality producer who has previously worked on Married At First Sight and The Real Housewives Of Sydney.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an influencer in possession of a good follower count must be in want of a beach backdrop (for the ’gram).
“And there’s no better backdrop – or magnet for influencers – than Byron Bay, the perfect setting for our next Australian Netflix Original,” ANZ stated in a release about the show.

It’s a red-hot concept that would likely draw huge ratings.

But the show’s premise has gone down in flames with Byron Bay locals, with a petition titled “Boycott Byron Baes Netflix Series by Refusing to Grant Filming Permits” reaching 3900 signatures on Thursday.

The petition’s creator, Tess Hall, said the concept would grossly misrepresent Byron Bay and its values.

“We don’t want to be an Instagrammers’ paradise,” Ms Hall told NCA NewsWire.

“When it comes to Byron Bay, what we have seen about the show would shine a light on the town which doesn’t reflect our values and who we are as a community.

“The fallout for Byron Bay is we become even more renowned as a hotspot for influencers; people who have a massive following who come to these hot spots and create a desire for their followers to visit.

“But that traffic has the potential to cause significant environmental impacts without any real valuable or meaningful injection to the region.”

The petition states Byron Bay “is a community experiencing significant challenges driven by influencer culture and rapidly shifting demographics of residents.”

It aims for “relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. “

It is understood Byron Bay’s top five most popular local businesses on Instagram have steadfastly declined approaches to be featured in the series – despite the potential for considerable surges in trade due to the Netflix exposure.

“Being members of the community, their gut reaction is this show isn‘t the tone and approach they want,” Ms Hall said.

“These business could gain by being included in the series but are vocally and actively choosing not to.”

Rumoured cast members include model and influencer Jess Vander Leahy and Love Island contestant Elias Chigros.

Ms Hall, a filmmaker herself, welcomed Byron Bay and the far north coast becoming a TV and film production destination, but in the right context.

“I’m a filmmaker; I’m all for the Northern Rivers and broader region becoming a production hub,” she said.

“Anything that brings large scale production and jobs to the region is great

“But ‘brand Byron’ has become so big and has been exploited. When I saw the series idea, I decided enough is enough.”

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Bay name change in Tasmania

Oyster farmers in Tasmania’s south-east are selling their seafood under a new location name after feedback from the markets in south east Asia. Fiona Breen reports.

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Positive COVID cases visited Byron Bay while infectious: Qld chief health officer

Queensland’s chief health officer says the state’s new cases amount to “significant community transmission”.

Positive COVID-19 cases based in Queensland recently visited Byron Bay.

Queensland’s chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has revealed two sisters who have tested positive for the virus recently visited Byron Bay while they were infectious.

Queensland has recorded four new cases overnight, bringing the current total of active cases to seven.

Dr Young said this amounted to “significant community transmission”, with “many venues” affected.

She said during a press conference this morning two colleagues of one of the recent cases tested positive yesterday.

One of those visited Gladstone for three days while infectious, Dr Young said.

She said the pair who visited Byron Bay are sisters, one of whom works as a nurse in a COVID-19 ward.

Dr Young said the source of their infections was not yet confirmed.

“Very late last night I was notified of another case who happens to be a nurse working in the COVID ward,” she said.

“I’m not sure whether that’s where she’s acquired it.

“We will need to wait for genome sequencing results.

“Her sister is also positive.

“They have recently been in Byron Bay during their infectious period.

“So we now have significant community transmission and significant numbers of venues of concern, all through Brisbane and we know that people have moved from Brisbane out into the broader community.”

Five local government areas that make up Greater Brisbane are going into a three-day lockdown, announced by Dr Young and the Queensland Premier this morning.

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