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Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Secret Crown land sell-off plan under fire

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Picturesque Brunswick Heads has much foreshore Crown land which the local community fiercely defends against encroachment or sell-off.

A parliamentary report has found that government plans to sell off Crown lands are strongly opposed by communities, including those on the northern rivers.

The report says communities value their Crown land parks and cherish them for their environmental, social and cultural values.

On the northern rivers, the community-based Brunswick Heads’ Foreshore Protection Group for years has been fighting to stop a land grab of prime foreshore Crown land by a government-appointed trust running public caravan parks.

The NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) and NSW National Parks Association (NPA) are now calling for a full audit of Crown lands to ensure such lands, including those with threatened species habitat, is adequately protected and never sold.

The NCC’s chief executive Kate Smolski said premier Baird was poised to introduce significant changes in Crown lands management ‘without coming clean with the people about what’s really at stake’.

‘We have not seen his draft legislation and the government can’t tell us what environmental values are at risk from these proposals,’ Ms Smolksi said.

‘The parliamentary report shows that when the government looks at Crown lands, it sees dollar signs, and when the people look at Crown land, they see a rich environmental and cultural legacy that they want protected for future generations,’ she said.

‘Citizens have a right to know what treasures these lands contain before Mr Baird flogs them off or transfers them to local councils.

‘Crown lands are often the last remnants of critical threatened species habitat, especially in the heavily cleared inland districts of the state, so the government has a duty to retain and protect the,’ Ms Smolski said.

NPA chief executive Kevin Evans the report ‘sends a strong signal to the government that its focus on the economic benefits of Crown lands is misplaced and that it should move away from its proposed business-style approach’.

‘The community has made its views on Crown lands clear. People want them managed for their environmental and cultural values, not as just another resource to be exploited,’ Mr Evans said.

‘The inquiry recommended the government consider an audit of the ecological values of Crown lands, including its local, regional and state environmental significance.

‘We strongly support this recommendation and want to see ongoing protection of areas of high ecological value,’ he said.

The two organisations are calling on the government to release a draft exposure bill for community consultation,’rather than introduce the bill into parliament without giving the community a changes to see what it contains, as is currently the plan’.

To view the report visit https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2404#tab-reports



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  1. The draft proposed amendments to the Plans of Management (POM) for the three caravan parks in Brunswick Heads have, at stake foreshore parklands which the POM intend to include in their commercial operations. Specifically, those parklands are the Ferry foreshore, part Lot 7005 and the land south of Nana Street where the WW1 Memorial Coastal Cypress Pines are located. Council has, in its resolutions reaffirmed yet again 10 December 2015 exclude those parklands. The draft proposed amendments to the POM ignore outright Council’s legislative powers to determine the operational boundaries of the caravan parks. The scathing Parliamentary Report into the Management and Leasing of Crown lands clearly signals that precaution must be acted upon and boundaries set not only in anticipation of a future sale/leasing of the caravan parks but to keep prime foreshore parklands for their intended purpose as open and recreational spaces for the greater community good. The reinstatement of an unfettered public walkway, outside the operational boundaries of the caravan park along the top of Simpson’s Creek riverbank is non negotiable.

  2. I heard today from a reliable source that our “not aligned with the National Party” or an “Independent”
    and unlabelled Councillor Warren Polglase was spruking on radio that the Jack Evans Boat Harbour Crown Land is a pot of gold waiting to be harvested or words to that affect. You can see by his election group prefrencing to another not aligned with the National Party and not an Independent Carolyn Byrne, then onto Jayne Henry faux independent, next to James Owen the Liberal Candidate and finally to another National Party aligned candidate Pryce Allsop. It’s obvious that the National Party together with the Libs are trying to swamp Council and take control so the State Government can run with the agenda of flogging off our Crown Land for as many $$ as they can get. Your vote is crucial in saving our Crown Lands for generations to come. Please see through their scheme and break their alliance. Only vote for genuine independents. There is too much infliltration of local government by Political parties.

  3. I note that your report refers to “governments” seeing only $ signs in foreshore caravan parks on crown land. To be more precise you should have said “politicians” see only $ signs for their developer and business mates who facilitated their entry into government.

    Baird still hasn’t got the message. We want government to represent the interests of all of the people. Not just the privileged few.

  4. The recent attempt by Councillors Polglase and Byrne to offer the Jack Evans Boat Harbour (Crown Land) for use by private operators so that they could install an inflatable fun park is just another example of Crown Land being sold off by stealth. Without any consultation with residents they supported the offer of a letter of support to an inflatable fun park operator that resulted in two expressions of interest being submitted to council for consideration. Luckily this move was defeated as councillor Byrne could not vote as she had a conflict of interest
    because the owner of one of the tenderers (Endless Summer Hire) was on her election ticket : and still is.
    The recent Request for Offer for non-motorised water activities in the Jack Evans Boat Harbour (JEBH) could also be a ploy to get Endless Summer into the JEBH so that they can then move to install the inflatable fun park.
    This would be at the expense of long time local icon Big Trev’s Watersports.
    This election is an opportunity for residents to show that we are sick and tired of this manipulative style of governing and vote in councillors who will truly listen to peoples concerns.

  5. A vote for Polglase and his mates as described above will end up having us looking a lot like what we hate about Surfers Paradise and the rest of the over exploited Gold Coast.
    I’m glad we have some good alternative candidates – do your research.
    Polglase was sacked from council a few years back due to his “connections”.


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