Update 20 August 2014: We have just recieved a press release from the Opposition Shadow Minister For Regional & Rural Affairs Hon Mick Veitch that : MINISTER ADMITS CROWN LANDS ACT REVIEW SHELVED BY COMMUNITY PRESSURE. Things are changing in the lead up to the next State election, they are starting to respond to community pressure.
TRRA is a member of the Better Planning Network, and they have alerted us to the fact that the Crown has now put it’s long awaited Crown Lands Management review White Paper out for comment. We are concerned about the future of some of our iconic Crown Land sites such as the Tomaree Lodge on Tomaree headland that our Mayor has earmarked for a Casino etc. HERE Their concerns are reflected in this letter:
The NSW Government wants to make it easier to sell off Crown lands.
The NSW Government is undertaking a review of the Crown lands estate. The Review started in June 2012, and despite repeated calls from environment groups, the Government has undertaken limited community consultation up to this point.
More alarmingly, the Government has failed to undertake a full assessment of the important environmental, cultural or social values of these extensive public lands. As such, the Government’s proposed changes are short-sighted, focus on the economic value of Crown lands, and fail to take into account the long-term future ecological and cultural values that these parcels of land will provide for NSW.
A White Paper was recently released and is open for public comment until 5pm, Friday 20 June 2014. (An extension can be applied for)
Environmental values of Crown Land
The Crown lands estate covers millions of hectares, including significant areas of high conservation value. In central and western NSW this represents a significant proportion of the remaining native vegetation within in some catchments.
According to a 2005 report by the National Parks Association of NSW, Crown lands:
- Provide known habitat for at least 71 threatened plant species and 111 threatened fauna species
- Encompass 93,900 hectares of wetlands, including two Ramsar listed wetlands, and provide habitat for at least 23 migratory bird species protected under international agreements
- Include numerous areas of outstanding ‘iconic’ value to nature conservation in NSW (the Macquarie Marshes, Gwydir Wetlands, and Lowbidgee Floodplain, etc)
Our Heritage Under the Hammer, The imminent fire sale of Crown leasehold lands in NSW, their outstanding conservation values, and how they can be saved, National Parks Association of NSW (2005)
In urban areas, Crown land parcels can contain important remnant vegetation and can be critical to the survival of resident, itinerant and migratory birds and other animals. Iconic public sites, such as Hyde Park and Bondi Beach, are at risk of being handed over to local government or to private leaseholders.
The White Paper proposes significant changes to the management of Crown land, including:
Developing one new piece of legislation that will replace eight existing Acts
- Allowing local councils to manage Crown reserves
- Replacing reserve trusts and reserve trust managers with reserve managers
- Removing the existing land assessment requirements to streamline existing provisions,
- Simplify the management of Crown reserves in order to ‘reduce red tape’
The Government’s position seems premised on an inherently opportunistic and economic focused approach, and will not guarantee that the important environmental values of Crown Land are protected into the future.
For more information, and to download a copy of the White Paper, visit:
The future of our important public land estate is in jeopardy. I urge you to lodge a submission with the NSW Government by 5pm on 20 June 2014 and send a copy of your submission to your local MP.
Kind regards, Cerin Loane, Policy and Research Coordinator
TRRA Inc. discussed this at Committee level and commissioned our expert on these matters Geoff Washington to prepare and circulate a submission for us to consider, he was assisted by John James our Research Officer and the Committee endorsed their excellent submission HERE will report on this issue at the next TRRA Inc. General Meeting.
The Environmental Defenders Office also sent a copy of their submission: