Huge win for Bambara activists for sensitive land at Kariong

Bambara supporters celebrate

Ecologically and culturally sensitive land at Kariong, known as Bambara, has been purchased by the State Government to become part of the surrounding National Park.

Bambara supporters celebrate

Bambara supporters celebrate

While negotiations are continuing for the purchase of the smallest block, the majority of the land is soon to be officially amalgamated into the surrounding Brisbane Water National Park.

This outcome was a combined effort between Environmental Minister Rob Stokes, Member for Gosford Chris Holstein and Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Sean Gordon.

Mr Stokes said the purchase of the final blocks is great news for conservation and cultural heritage.

“This fulfils an election commitment made to the Central Coast community that this environmentally and culturally sensitive land at Kariong would be protected by being added to Brisbane Water National Park,” Mr Stokes said.

“The acquisition of this land has been a priority of the NSW Government to secure the future of Bambara, so that it is protected and conserved for the enjoyment of current and future generations.” Mr Holstein said the sacred land around Bambara has signifi cant natural environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage value. “The protection of the land is a high priority for the local community and local Aboriginal groups, who have a long-established connection to a number of cultural sites on the land,” Mr Holstein said. “I would like to congratulate everyone who has campaigned, advocated and done so much work behind the scenes to deliver on this commitment.” Mr Gordon said the announcement was not only a signifi cant result for the Aboriginal community but also for the wider Central Coast. “The acquisition of this land ensures that our longstanding connection with this part of the Central Coast is recognised and that current and future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy the area,” he said. “I would like to share my gratitude with everyone who played a part in having this outcome achieved, in particular the community support, which assisted in raising awareness of the signifi cance of this land,” concluded Sean. Darkinjung chairperson Mr Joshua Toomey said: “These areas are highly valued by the Aboriginal people of the Gosford region and it is essential to protect such sites from threats that could possibly harm their aesthetic, spiritual value or educational worth.” Long time campaigner for the protection of Bambara, Jake Cassar, said: “I would like to acknowledge all people, past and present who have put in an incredible effort to get this cause to where it is today.” “I’m deeply proud to belong to a community that so passionately binds together to look after our area. “In my opinion, protecting the place we are so blessed to call home is really what being a local is all about. “I also acknowledge the efforts of Gosford Council, the State Government and the State Member for Gosford, Chris Holstein, for honouring the promise to secure Bambara. “I heard that the land owners were treated respectfully and fairly in regards to the voluntary acquisition of their blocks and I’m really glad about that. “I hope they can all get on with their lives as well, as this must have been a very stressful situation for them. “Having spent eight long years trying to get this special and unique place offi cially protected, it just seems so surreal that it’s all over. “And I must admit, I’m looking forward to having a big part of my life back and focusing on other important community projects I’m involved in. “I believe winning the battle for Bambara makes a strong statement that the Central Coast community highly values our amazing environment and irreplaceable cultural heritage. “It’s been very heartening to experience seeing the Indigenous and nonindigenous community coming together and working side by side to protect our area. “I hope this win helps people to realise that your average person certainly can make a difference regarding infl uencing political decisions, but based on my experiences, they must be willing to remain focused and persevere or else it’s not even worth trying. “Amidst all the politics, I feel it’s of the utmost importance to reiterate that Bambara is extremely rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage and should have never been earmarked for development. “Hopefully, a valuable lesson regarding making poor planning decisions has been learnt here. “This is a monumental achievement for local conservation and it’s the fulfi lment of a legacy left behind by past local conservationists such as Aunty Beve Spiers, Zoe Russell and Alan and Beryl Strom. “I dedicate this win to their memory,” Mr Cassar said. Lots 2501 and 4711 were purchased and reserved in 2013 as additions to Brisbane Water National Park. The 18 hectare Lot 2501 has also been declared as Kariong Sacred Land Aboriginal Place. The purchase of Lots 229, 251, 478 and 2502 by the Offi ce of Environment and Heritage is now being fi nalised.

Media release,

12 Mar 2015 Ashleigh Milne,

Brilliant Logic Media release, 1

0 Mar 2015 John McCormack,

Office of Rob Stokes MP Media release,

10 Mar 2015 Jake Cassar,

West Gosford