Crown Lands Inquiry public hearing in Gosford

The Woodport Early Learning Centre is located on land listed as being owned by the CrownThe Woodport Early Learning Centre is located on land listed as being owned by the Crown

A public hearing into the NSW Legislative Council’s Inquiry into Crown Lands will be held on August 8 in Gosford.

The meeting will be held at the Central Coast Leagues Club. Shadow minister for the Central Coast, Mr David Harris, had called on the community to make submissions as part of the current NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Crown Lands in NSW, but the closing date for submissions was July 24. Mr Harris said organisations that could be affected by the inquiry, and the new Crown Land legislation that is being proposed by the NSW Government, might include preschools, Scout and Guide groups, nursing homes and some community halls,” he said.

“This new legislation will affect many community groups across the Central Coast,” Mr Harris said. According to a Gosford Council land register dated September 2014, around 130 locations (plus those on the Woy Woy Peninsula) either have “Crown” as part of their common name or are owned by the Crown. The vast majority of those are currently classifi ed as being for community recreation, open space, environmental or conservation and include several community or neighbourhood centres, but they may have other active uses. For example, a childcare centre in Green Point is on land owned by the Crown, classifi ed as operational and zoned as R2 Residential. Mr Harris said the inquiry will be examining the extent of Crown Land and the benefi ts of active use and management of that land to NSW.

It will be looking into: the adequacy of community input and consultation regarding the commercial use and disposal of Crown Land; and the most appropriate and effective measures for protecting Crown Land so that it is preserved and enhanced for future generations. Another area under consideration by the Legislative Council’s committee is the extent of Aboriginal Land Claims over Crown Land and opportunities to increase Aboriginal involvement in the management of Crown land. NSW shadow minister for local government, Mr Peter Primrose, said he recently asked to join the committee and urged interested community groups and individuals to make submissions even if they do not get them in before the deadline.

“It will be up to the committee to decide if they will accept submissions past the deadline but they usually do and they will then give consideration to which submission writers will be asked to give evidence at the public hearing,” Mr Primrose said. The secretariat of the General Purpose Standing Committee Number Six, which is conducting the Crown Lands inquiry, confi rmed that those invited to be witnesses at public hearings are usually chosen from groups and individuals who have shown interest in the inquiry by making a submission. Organisations that missed the submission deadline but believe they have a contribution to make at the public hearing can write to the committee asking for permission to speak.

Mr Primrose said the future and management of Crown Land in NSW was “very complex stuff. “Most people are not aware of the great range and tenure of Crown Land available,” he said. “Most beaches are Crown Land, for example, and then there are Crown Roads. “As shadow minister for local government, I am very concerned about what is going to happen to Crown Roads,” he said. Mr Primrose said his concerns were based on the extent of cost shifting that the NSW Government has undertaken in recent years. Local Government NSW has estimated that the NSW Government is currently shifting $860 million each year across the state off its books and adding it to the costs of local councils that do not have adequate funding to deal with the additional burden, Mr Primrose said. Website, Jul 20, 2016 NSW Parliament Inquiry into crown lands

Media release, Jul 15, 2016 Jake Allen, office of David Harris Interview, Jul 20, 2016 Sam Griffith, Legislative Council GPSC6 Interview, Jul 20, 2016 Peter Primrose, NSW shadow minister for local government Gosford Council Land Register, Sep 16, 2014 Jackie Pearson, journalist