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Byron Shire
September 26, 2023

Local MP refutes Reflections Holiday Parks CEO claims over Bruns holiday park

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Ballina MP Tamara Smith.

Local MP, Tamara Smith is standing by her claim that NSW government run corporation, Reflections Holiday Parks, is a private enterprise, despite its new CEO claiming it is a ‘certified social enterprise’.

Following the recent story on the ongoing issues around the Brunswick Heads Terrace Reserve Holiday Park that it manages, Reflections Holiday Parks CEO, Nick Baker, wrote a letter to the editor to ‘clarify who Reflections Holiday Parks is’.

He says, ‘Reflections is a Category One Crown Land Manager and a NSW statutory entity, under the Crown Land Management Act 2016’.

‘It is also a certified social enterprise (the only holiday park group in Australia with this status) and, crucially, it reinvests all surpluses into public (Crown) land.

‘Reflections manages 23,000 acres of public land on behalf of the NSW public – only six per cent of this is holiday parks; the remainder is Crown reserve, open to members of the community for their enjoyment.

‘Reflections has never sold land, and cannot do so because we don’t own it – we manage it for the people of NSW, on behalf of Crown Lands.

Stella and Spike Dodd hear how their grandfather, Darcey O’meara watered the Norfolk Pines in the Terrace Reserve Caravan Park when he attended Brunswick Heads Primary School. Photo Jeff Dawson

‘There are also strict covenants on Reflections in relation to the land we manage, under the Crown Land Management Act 2016’.

Ms Smith told The Echo, ‘It’s very odd for the CEO of Reflections to be reprimanding me in a letter to the editor. As a statutorily appointed Crown land manager, it seems wildly inappropriate. Last time I checked, it is literally my job to raise matters of public importance.’

‘Reflections is not the government, so they are private. As a social enterprise, presumably their profits go back into their projects – but our community does not benefit from that at all.

‘Removing the management of holiday parks from councils has taken away community ownership, and the practice of Reflections determining the footprint for their business on community land, rather than council, or based on actual surveyed and historical maps, is wrong and needs to change’.

Terrace Reserve encroachment of public foreshore lands by Reflections. Photo Sean O’Meara

‘Work to maintain a three metre setback’

Mr Baker wrote further, and acknowledged ‘local residents’ desire to enjoy as much of the natural environment as possible, and [we] will work to maintain a three metre setback along the Terrace Reserve waterfront’.

‘While we advise guests of the need to maintain this setback, we acknowledge that additional markers and patrols would be beneficial to ensure this is adhered to at all times, and will implement this.

‘Please note, there are several dwellings (permanent residents and long-term casual occupants), which were installed before Reflections managed the park, which do encroach on the setback area. ‘We will continue to work with these occupants to explore options.

‘We look forward to working with the Member for Ballina, Byron Shire Council and the local community in caring for this precious parcel of public land on behalf of current and future generations’.

Ms Smith said, ‘I think it’s disgraceful that the CEO has mentioned the tenure of long-term residents at Terrace Reserve. With a catastrophic housing crisis and homelessness on the rise in Byron Shire, I see that as a veiled threat, and look forward to raising my concerns with the Minister for Crown Lands and the Premier at the earliest opportunity’.

A Reflections spokesperson also told The Echo that, ‘During the north coast floods, we made our entire Ballina Holiday Park available for emergency accommodation for people who had lost their homes (it only recently reopened for tourism to help support local businesses’ recovery), and we have provided an area of our Evans Head Holiday Park for emergency housing on a longer-term basis. We also provided discounts to assist people who needed short term accommodation’.

The spokesperson added that profit made by Reflections is reinvested in public (Crown) nature reserves in NSW.

‘We look after 23,000 acres of public (Crown) land – 94 per cent is nature reserves, and only six per cent is holiday parks’.

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  1. “You can’t be serious” was the frustrated catch cry old tennis fans may recall from an angry former tennis champ. Labelling the response from Reflection HP’s as a “reprimand”. Really?
    Many residents of Bruns no doubt already have made the point that Reflections are seemingly a law unto themselves- yes a private enterprise. We do our cause no good service throwing tacky negative labels about. Remember the ‘Manchurian candidate’ label from a previous fed Government?
    Nothing in Reflections response but the usual, and not unexpected. And then to go off on a tangent conflating the issue of the long standing problem of riverbank access/setback, ( Reflections’ own tangent!) as a veiled threat, to another matter. You can’t be serious!
    You can consider this a reprimand. Yes you can.
    Neville N.
    Not a PwC Consultant


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