Central Coast Greens Statement on Bambara Land at Kariong

The Central Coast Greens and their Gosford Council candidates absolutely support the freehold land at Bambara Road, Kariong, being included in Brisbane Water National Park.

The Bambara Road properties have long been recognized by previous Councils and State Governments as worthy of purchase, although for inexplicable reasons, very little action has been taken to acquire them.   The strength of community support for the acquisition of these parcels of land is immense and with the recent listing of the koala as a threatened species and known to be present on Bambara, this support has only increased.   The Central Coast Greens and their Council Candidates completely support the efforts of the Coalition Government and Gosford City Local Council to purchase the land at Bambara.

Jake Cassar and the many local activists are to be congratulated in moving the State Government to commence negotiations for the voluntary acquisition of the Bambara sites.  This has moved the Bambara Road sites to the top of the acquisition queue, which Central Coast Greens strongly endorse.  There has been an independent valuation of the land and a mediator appointed to negotiate the purchase of these sites in order for them to form part of Brisbane Water National Park.  It appears these negotiations have stalled due to the owners not accepting the voluntary acquisition amount offered by the NSW State Government.  However, it would set a dangerous precedent if this land was purchased for an amount above its market value.

From a recent radio interview given by the Member for Gosford, Chris Holstein, it appears the offer from the State Government is open for at least another 10 months.  The offer was made based on the current value of the land, not the purchase price the owners paid.  It is important to recognize that COSS or the State government acquires properties on nearly a monthly basis throughout the Gosford Local Government Area. These purchases are always negotiated based on independent valuations and are concluded quietly and privately.

Our research has indicated that a surprising amount of money has been paid for the various blocks over the preceding years and perhaps this is why the voluntary acquisition process has stalled.

Land valuation is generally based on current market value of similar properties, not on the original purchase price.   It is neither for the State Government nor Gosford Council to pay more money than the land is worth.  Gosford Council’s Coastal Open Space Scheme will be unworkable, and we will lose many valuable properties across the coast, if the system is not based on independent, professional, valuations.

The Central Coast Greens urge the current owners of the Bambara Rd lots to accept the offer made by the State, or, if they feel it is too low, to return to negotiations with their own independent valuation. We also call for clarity over the date at which the voluntary acquisition offer expires. If the voluntary acquisition process fails to secure Bambara in public hands, we call on the State to use State and Federal funds and move to compulsory acquisition. The Bambara Rd lots are precious pieces of land which deserve the protection of the national parks system.