State election campaigning for the seat of Tweed has ramped up, with the government’s controversial plan to sell off the crown reserve at Kingscliff known as Lot 490 under renewed attack.
Labor candidate Ron Goodman accused Tweed MP Geoff Provest of failing to speak up in parliament last week in support of a petition signed by more than 15,000 people wanting to protect the reserve from development.
Mr Goodman said the debate followed confirmation by the NSW minister for finance and services Dominic Perrottet that the coalition government plans to sell the land.
But Mr Provest hit back, saying it ‘amazed’ him to be attacked over the issue given it was Labor which originally leased the land to a private developer for an upmarket resort.
He said he supported a buyback of the reserve by Tweed Shire Council.
‘I sponsored the first petition calling for Lot 490 to remain in public hands,’ Mr Provest said.
‘Tweed Shire Council has been offered the land, with any purchase price paid being returned to the Council’s Coastal Reserve Trust. I continue to support this option,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘However, the land is subject to an Aboriginal Land Rights claim, something both Labor and the Greens continue to ignore. This must be settled before any future plans for the site are made.’
Mr Goodman said Mr Provest had no plans to save Lot 490 from development, despite the petition ‘calling for the vital piece of foreshore land to be protected’.
‘This was Mr Provest’s chance to stand up for what Tweed people want on the floor of the NSW Parliament, and he failed the test, he has still not come up with a plan to ensure that the outcome for Lot 490 is what the community wants.’
Council in January resolved to look into buying the land from the state government as well as signifying Council’s preference in preserving the site as a public open space and recreation reserve.
Late last year, the state government controversially changed the status of the Lot 490 block east of Casuarina Way (the beachfront) to ‘government property’, a move seen by campaigners as trying to thwart the locals’ ambition, given it followed the large petition.
The beachfront part of the land had been originally earmarked for leasing as a resort by Leightons Properties before the company suddenly pulled the pin on the project early last year.
The Save Our Lot 490 group, which organised the petition, recently released its own draft concept plan for recreational access and preserving the conservation values of the 40-hectare coastal reserve.