Local Liberals are rushing to give the Government a pat on the back for “considering” a buy back of the Mambo Wetlands, 18 months after it was sold.
Today’s announcement that the Department of Planning will “investigate the feasibility of purchasing the site” comes days after local residents reached 10,000 signatures on a petition which will automatically trigger a debate on the botched sale in the NSW Parliament.
The announcement that the Department of Planning might seek to purchase the land comes only weeks after Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack insisted that local campaigners were wrong to call on the State Government to buy this land and that only Council had the power to do so.
The Government’s mistake is likely to be expensive to fix, with the cost of buying back the land (even via compulsory acquisition) likely to far exceed the original sale price as the property developer has now submitted multiple development applications for the site and engaged contractors to undertake necessary planning and environmental studies.
The NSW Government’s decision to rush ahead with the sale of this land, despite the outrage from local residents and koala conservation groups, is symptomatic of the attitude of this Government when it comes to the value of the environment and community consultation.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP:
“All the Government has announced today is that bureaucrats in the planning department have been requested to consider the possibility of buying back Mambo Wetlands. Sadly, it’s not the good news we were hoping for – actually, it’s not news at all. The Government has already admitted they were looking into possible buy-back options.”
“This song and dance about nothing is pretty insulting to everyone who has campaigned for a buy-back. The Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group weren’t invited to the press conference, they weren’t told about what was going on, and from their point of view, there’s still a long way to go before this land is back in public hands.”
“Let’s be clear, ’Investigating the feasibility of buying back the land’ is not good news – this should have been happening since the Government admitted their mistake 18 months ago. I can’t help but think the Government is treating this as a joke.”
“I think it’s time for them to stop this farce and fix their mess. We want action, not meaningless words dressed up as progress.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Monday 5 February, 2018.