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Byron Shire
April 14, 2021

Pillage of Crown land reserves now underway

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The chair of the New South Wales Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NSWCHPT) Alan Revell recently announced the membership of the Trust’s newly-formed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and unsurprisingly it appears to be top-heavy with tourism industry representatives, including Belinda Novicky, executive officer, North Coast Destination Network.

All members of NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust and new Community Advisory Committee were handpicked by Crown Lands and the new minister to facilitate their grandiose new plans for the privatisation and commercialisation of public lands.

The minister is the final arbitrator with the Trust acting as mouthpiece.

The appointment of two new tiers of ‘gatekeepers’ is an expensive attempt by Crown Lands and the minister to distance themselves from unpopular decisions based on ‘expert advice’ from quasi-independent Trusts and advisory committees.

The Brunswick community has a right to feel outraged by recent statements made by Trust chairman, Allan Revell. During the exhibition of POM for Brunswick Heads caravan parks there was no ‘balanced deliberations with the Trust and the community to ensure we retain our region’s natural assets’.

Reinstating a three-metre buffer zone along the riverbank in Terrace Park to enable public access was ‘non-negotiable’.

This was a requirement of Local Government Act caravan park regulations and a Byron Council directive since 2000 and reiterated as recently as May 2013, yet Mr Revell and the new Trustees failed to deliver.

They also failed to consult or even visit our community. Public submissions were not made public and no one bothered to inform Council or the community the Crown Reserve Plans had been adopted in June. The process was secretive and decisions were made behind closed doors without explanation.

Espousing feel-good statements, Trust chairman Mr Revell claims: ‘We want local communities to have further opportunity to contribute to this development (of public lands)’; and that ‘We want the people of NSW who access Crown Land on a regular basis to enjoy the benefits of improved public spaces and facilities.’

The proposed upgrade of the caravan parks does not represent best practice but boldly flaunts legal requirements and minimum standards without regard for the adverse environmental and social impacts.

Highly contentious boundary issues were neither acknowledged or addressed in Crown Lands new plans of management. Compliance issues were also ignored.

The Bruns experience demonstrates the Trust and CAC will inevitably give priority to economic outcomes and over-ride all adverse environmental and social impacts and regulatory requirements.

The exploitation of public lands proposed by Crown Lands must be viewed with the backdrop of ICAC’s multiple inquiries into corruption, fraud and the misdeeds of pliable politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen.

The pillage of public land is well underway.

Michele Grant, Foreshore Protection Group

 


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