OPINION: Has the NSW Labor Government been nobbled by the bureaucrats?

DEAR News Of The Area,

I WOULD like to offer my wholehearted support to our Mayor Paul Amos for his recent column in NOTA and to his fellow Councillors who are continuing to fight for our foreshore land to remain in public ownership.

It beggars belief that the Labor Government promised there would be no residential development east of the railway line before the elections and are now talking about affordable housing.

Clearly prime foreshore land is not suitable for such a use yet it would seem the bureaucrats are proposing affordable housing to utilise fast tracking provisions for their rezoning proposal.

It seems to me that the only explanation for the Government’s back flip on its election promise is that the Minister for Land and Property (Steve Kamper) hasn’t been fully informed of the relevant facts by the manipulative agenda driven bureaucracy in Property Development NSW that is focused solely on maximising financial gain.

I believe the Minister should call for a review of the situation and demand answers to the following questions.

Why weren’t traffic studies undertaken prior to the community consultation?

Why wasn’t the community advised of the potential adverse consequences of traffic movement in the foreshore area itself and the nearby residential areas of the Coffs Jetty area?

Why wasn’t the public informed that the land is classified under EPA guidelines as being potentially contaminated due to its previous use for industrial purposes (including fuel storage, asbestos use and timber treatment).

Why hasn’t the cost of rehabilitation to make it suitable for residential purposes been assessed?

Has the Minister been made aware of the potential for public hearings and court appeals that will no doubt publicise the government’s backflip and the flawed, biassed consultation process that has been undertaken?

Why hasn’t the proposal by our local government representatives, the City of Coffs Harbour, to acquire the land for public open space and ancillary uses, been taken seriously and meaningful dialogue entered into?

It is perhaps understandable that it takes time for a Minister in a new Government to become fully acquainted with a new and complex portfolio.

Understandably there would be initially a degree of reliance on advice from his Department. There comes a time however when the elected Minister needs to become fully aware of the issues, listen to the local Community and stand up and question the advice that is being provided to the Government.

I call on the Minister to review the situation and to honour the election commitment that was given and restore the credibility of the Minns Labor Government in both our local electorate and northern NSW.

Bruce FIDGE,
Coffs Harbour.

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