Compulsory acquisition of Bambara properties recommended


Greens Cr Hillary Morris will move that Gosford Council, at its meeting on Tuesday, July 8, request the State Government to finalise the incorporation of the remaining private properties at Bambara into the Brisbane Water National Park by commencing compulsory acquisition proceedings.

Greens’ spokesperson on the environment MLC Mehreen Faruqi has also posed questions to the government concerning the acquisition of the properties into the Brisbane Water National Park. “Bambara is an area of unique environmental and heritage value being home to at least 12 threatened species and a large number of sensitive and important Aboriginal cultural sites,” said Cr Morris. “After decades of attempts, and over two years since the voluntary acquisition offers were first made, this council and the State Government should bring the process to an end before the next State election.

” Central Coast Greens spokesperson Ms Kate da Costa said: “When the Greens campaigned for council in 2012, we ran on a platform that supported voluntary acquisition of the Bambara properties, but if that failed, to call on the State Government to acquire the land for the National Park. “This motion fulfils that campaign pledge,” said Ms da Costa.

The Greens’ Notice of Motion reaffirms council’s commitment to provide funding for up to half the Valuer-General’s valuation of the lots when the voluntary acquisition offer was made in 2012. “Council has done everything in its power to reach an agreement, but some owners have not finalised the voluntary process,” said Cr Morris.

“Since the aim is to merge the properties into a national park, which is a State Government responsibility, the most logical next step is for the Minister for the Environment to move to compulsory acquisition.” Questions to the NSW government put by Dr Faruqi enquire into the status of the current acquisition process and the timeline for completion. In recent years, several properties have been acquired through voluntary acquisition in a cost sharing arrangement between council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, however, the voluntary process has failed to bring all of the properties into public ownership.

Over 30 years ago, in 1983, the National Parks and Wildlife Service moved to acquire the land in question for inclusion in Brisbane Water National Park, but because of financial constraints, was unable to go ahead. In the following 15 years, a rezoning proposal to develop the land was rejected and the inclusion of the land into the Brisbane Water National Park continued to be supported by the National Parks Association. In 1998, the council again made representations to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the State Government to have the land in question purchased for inclusion in the Brisbane Water National Park.

According to council documents, the properties currently outstanding in the acquisition process were purchased in 1999. In 2001, the land was rezoned to reduce the range of activities that could be carried out on it and in 2010, the Land and Environment Court rejected a development application for a dwelling, on the grounds of environmental damage that would be caused by the necessary bushfire protection Shortly afterwards, Gosford Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service entered into a cost sharing arrangement to acquire the properties through voluntary acquisition.

Media release, 30 Jun 2014
Kateda Costa,
Central Coast Greens