NSW Labor leader John Robertson has joined the community-based campaign to save the coastal crown reserve known as Lot 490 near Kingscliff from development.
This week, Mr Robertson agreed to formally present to the NSW Parliament the Save Lot 490 petition signed by more than 13,000 north coast residents, forcing parliamentary debate on the issue, expected in October.
The petition, organised by the Save Lot 490 group, calls on the Liberal-National state government to keep the coastal corridor between Kingscliff and Salt in public hands and away from property developers.
Campaigners say the fate of the 40-hectare reserve is now a firm election issue for the March state election.
They say Lot 490 has a critical part to play in protecting community amenity in the face of massive development and would provide much-needed public parkland and beachside car parking.
A controversial proposal for a $100 million resort on the public reserve came unstuck last year when the developer Leighton Properties pulled the pin on the plan, leaving the door open for the 42-hectare crown reserve to be kept as a nature corridor or developed as a low-key holiday retreat.
Shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord conducted the formal handover to Mr Robertson earlier this week and after Mr Robertson signed the official documentation, the massive petition was lodged with the NSW Legislative Assembly’s tabling office.
State parliament resumed for the spring session yesterday. The tabling of the petition with more than 10,000 signatures automatically triggered the debate for later this year.
Tweed Labor candidate Ron Goodman said he was proud to support the community-based campaign but ‘the only people working against protecting this important public open green space [are] the National Party’.
Mr Goodman said the campaign was an example of people power and democracy in action.
Earlier this year, Richmond MP Justine Elliot and Tweed Shire Council all joined the campaign.
‘It seems that the Nationals are the only ones who want to see the land flogged off to developers,’ Mr Secord said.
‘My message to the National Party is clear: hands off Lot 490 and keep your developer mates away from it. It must remain public green space and open to the community,’ he said.
Lot 490 campaigners say the population between Kingscliff and Bogangar will more than double when the massive housing developments at Kings Forest and west Kingscliff are built, and holiday congestion will become a daily event.
They also say the reserve’s preservation would help rare wildlife there, such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo and an endangered orchid.
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Jan Barham, Greens MLC. The Greens have a long standing commitment to supporting Aboriginal people in their endeavours to access land under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights 1983.
Ron Cooper, Kingscliff. Sixteen thousand petitioners and 98 per cent of residents and visitors thank Walt Second for honouring his promise to save Lot 490.
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ALP north-coast spokesperson Walt Secord has moved a motion in state parliament to create a regional park over a rare remnant of Tweed coastal crown land known locally as Lot 490. But the move has come under attack from an unexpected source.