Labor today demanded that the Berejkilian Government reinstate the Killalea State Park Trust to ensure a strong local voice over the future of the Park.
Labor said that with the removal of the local Trust in 2016, the future of the Park now lay in the hands of a Board with no local ties but plenty of connections with the Coalition Government.
Killalea State Park is a jewel in the Crown estate and needed to be protected for the sake of future generation.
Labor labelled local Kiama MP, Gareth Ward a two-faced hypocrite after he backed the local Trust Board just months out from the 2015 election, yet came out endorsing a Sydney based Board in 2016.
Labor declared The Farm as a National Surfing Reserve in 2010 in a move to protect the unique values of the Park.
The future of the park was now in the hands of Sydney based board served by Newcastle based bureaucrats.
Funds that should be spent directly on improvements were being funnelled into exorbitant Board costs – with the Chair, former National Party MP Wendy Machin receiving $60,000 a year, while the other 6 board members received $20,000 per annum.
Documents obtained under freedom of information laws revealed that the Board met on 5 times in 2015 and 6 times in 2016 – with some meetings lasting less than 3 hours.
The new Crown Lands Management Act was creating widespread community concern over the future of public land, with a renewed focus on asset sales and transfers.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe:
“The Berejiklian Government will try to flog off any public asset that is not bolted down.
“My fear is that the potential economic payoff of places like Killalea will outweigh the environmental and social values, in the eyes of this government.
“The lack of local representation is a real worry when it comes to Crown Land jewels like Killalea – we need to restore a local Trust Board to ensure the community’s interest comes first.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson:
“Killalea is a local treasure that needs to be preserved for generations to come.
“Locals who love and hold dear the future of Killalea would hate to see it at the mercy of developers.
“We need to draw a line in the sand and say ‘Hands off Killalea’.
“The Liberal Member for Kiama is more concerned about keeping his Sydney Liberal mates happy than ensuring a strong local voice for Killalea.
“Rather than a local Trust with local representation, we are now stuck with a Sydney-based Board of money men, corporate lawyers and property developers together milking $180,000 of tax payers’ funds each year.”
18 May 2017