Enough is enough...

Administration of public assets on the Central Coast seems to have become the flavour of the month, as the Perrottet Government holds the fate of the Central Coast Wetland (formerly the Pioneer Dairy Wetlands Reserve) in its hand. The recent resignation of four board members from the Central Coast Wetland Trust has the Government rushing to place the Trust into administration prior to the election.

Central Coast Wetland.

24 February 2023


THE Central Coast has suffered two years under the machinations of a non democratic council administration, with no guarantee of any reprieve from client dictatorship until 2024, and now the Perrottet Government is seeking to extend its administrative powers.


When Lands Department officers visited the Central Coast two weeks ago, following the resignations of the four Trust board members, they gave no assurance to the remaining Trust members of a continuing plan. Yet on the same day that they visited, Department Officers saw the Norah Head Lighthouse Trust and immediately announced to members an enhanced plan and assurances. Is it any wonder that people supporting the Central Coast Wetlands have become extremely nervous.


The Central Coast Wetland Trust has always been in the black financially, has had continuing income from leases and has always paid their bills. Recent grant applications to government agencies have, however, remained unsuccessful. With the sudden resignations of board members, prior to an election, provides the Perrottet Government the perfect opportunity to downgrade the site.


The Central Coast Local Government Committee has now unanimously resolved to call upon the current NSW Government to make an urgent public statement that it will NOT place the Central Coast Wetland (former Pioneer Dairy site) at Tuggerah under an administrator.


“Our Council will have been under the direct administration of Macquarie Street for five out of seven years by the time we are permitted to elect councillors in September 2024. And now we have heard of plans to place our Crown Land trusts under administration,” said Local Government Committee President Vicki Scott.


Part of the Central Coast Wetlands, Pioneer Dairy, is a 155 hectare site located in the Sth Tacoma/Tuggerah area and has traditionally been run by a community-based organization managed by Crown Lands.


“We call on the NSW Government to re-instate the traditional community-based management committee to manage Pioneer Dairy, a very popular and environmentally sensitive area, for the wider community. This area is a gem in the makeup of the entire Central Coast.


“The push to put the land under administration is unacceptable, especially so close to an election. The incumbent Minister for Lands, Kevin Anderson, should immediately instruct Crown Lands to call for expressions of interest from suitable community members to join the existing committee, which has several vacancies.


“We call upon the Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, to inform the community that Central Coast Wetland will remain under the management of a community committee.


“There is no need for administration. The Central Coast community is fed up with being administered by the State Government.


“It has emerged that the Central Coast Wetland is not the only Crown Land site being looked at in terms of future use and reclassification,” Mrs Scott said.


“It must not be forgotten that the community fought hard to have the old Pioneer Diary and similar sites classified for recreation and environmental protection for the enjoyment of the whole community.


“When the wetland was handed to the community by former Labor Premier Bob Carr, it was with the intention that it would remain a community asset, managed by the community with assistance from Crown Lands, in perpetuity.


“It has become clear to the Local Government Committee that Crown Land assistance has not been forthcoming. In its last days before going to the polls the current Government has no right to take this asset away from the community. It needs to make a public statement that it will not do so.”


Member for Wyong and Shadow Minister for the Central Coast David Harris has written to the Minister for Lands and requested that the vacant board member positions be re-advertised and that Administration be held off until after re-advertising.


David Harris has spoken with the two remaining Board Members and they feel that they are able to continue in the short term until new Board Members are found.


"The Wetlands has loads of unrealised potential. The Government has failed to assist with installing an all weather road which has stifled a range of activities," David Harris said.


"I have been working with user groups to insure public access and usability.


"I am confident if the Government opens applications for the board excellent candidates will apply.


"The previous attempt was before Christmas, which meant many people weren’t aware of the process."


The community must be reassured that the Central Coast Wetland will not be taken away from them by the Perrottet Government - secrecy within the Lands Department has kept the community in the dark for too long.


It's time the Liberal Member for Terrigal and Secretary for the Central Coast Adam Crouch stepped up, instead of hiding in the shadows, and confirm that the Central Coast Wetland will remain a community asset and not be put into administration.

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