Statement from Green NSW MP John Kaye
Greens NSW MP John Kaye would like to make the following statement in support of community campaigners and the Central Coast Greens who today are holding a rally to call on the NSW government to end years of stalling and secure the ecological and culturally significant site at Bambara.
It is time for the state government to end the uncertainty and secure the future of Bambara.
For too long the local community has been plagued by fears that this unique and irreplaceable, ecological and culturally significant site will be opened up to developers.
As long as the land remains excluded from the surrounding Brisbane Waters National Park, a new development application or a change in council could see the forest flattened and the heritage sites destroyed. This is unacceptable.
Decades of attempts to protect the land, including a 2 year process of voluntary acquisition with local landowners have been to no avail. Negotiations have come to a standstill.
Gosford City Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have done attempted to voluntarily acquire the land and ensure that it remains protected not only in the near future but for decades to come.
It is now crucial that the state government intervenes and causes Bambara to be included into the surrounding Brisbane Waters National Park.
Unfortunately, the Baird government is being less than completely honest with the community and local campaigners about the options available to protect Bambara from development.
During a budget estimates hearing two weeks ago the Environment Minister Rob Stokes and Chief Executive Office of Environment and Heritage Terry Bailey avoided my questions about the future of Bambara and refused to admit that compulsory acquisition was even an option.
This is an unacceptable departure from the pre-election promise made by former leading Central Coast Liberal Chris Hartcher to bring the land under public ownership. He has failed to do this and now the Baird government is covering his tracks.
The people of the Central Coast have been treated poorly by the Liberal Party of NSW. From broken promises to illegal donations, the party has left a trail of destruction and disappointment.
The state’s natural wonders have been exposed to exploitation and degradation under the watch of former Premier Barry O’Farrell. From hunting in national parks to the proposal to open up the state’s marine parks, the Coalition government have shown time and time again that the our natural heritage is up for grabs.
Now it is time for Premier Mike Baird to differentiate himself from his disgraced colleagues, step up to the plate and start the compulsory acquisition of Bambara.
Compulsory acquisition should always be a last resort in efforts to protect natural places from development.
The Greens are strong advocates of working with community members, landholders and government authorities to secure land protection agreements that are just and ecologically sustainable. But in the case of Bambara all those options have now been exhausted. We are at the end of the line: compulsory acquisition is the only chance to secure the future of Bambara.
It is time for the government to begin the process of compulsory acquiring the land, pay the owners a fair market price and ensure Bambara is granted the protection it deserves.
The site at Bambara is too important to be the pawn in a bidding war between land owners, the council and the state government.
Premier Mike Baird owes it to the people of the Central Coast who have worked tirelessly to protect the land at Bambara to end the uncertainly and incorporate the site into the Brisbane Waters National Park.”
Publish on: 09-Sep 01, 2014