War Of Words Over Port Stephens Government Owned Land Up For Sale

Taylor Martin MLC at the site of Tomaree Lodge, one space that is gaining attention. Photo: Marian Sampson.

 

MEMBER for Port Stephens Kate Washington has launched a scathing attack on the NSW Liberal Government over the future use of public land not only in Port Stephens but across the state.

Ms Washington told News Of The Area, “The Government’s full-time PR spokesperson, Taylor Martin MLC, has accused me of peddling a scare campaign about the Government Property Index.

“He ridiculously claimed the website is simply for increased transparency and to allow community groups to identify unused government property.”

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Washington went on to claim that the statements are “just rubbish”.

She claims that the NSW Government website itself admits its purpose is to: “allow proposals on how government-owned land might be used to deliver an economic stimulus.”

Ms Washington stated that “There aren’t many community groups in Port Stephens that have money to throw around, I can assure you.”

Ms Washington said that the Government’s own Minister for Property, Melinda Pavey, put out a press release launching the website, claiming it would assist industry to put forward innovative and unsolicited proposals for public land.

She said it was for industry, not community groups.

“Finally, if this website is all about transparency, and all about community use of public land, as Taylor Martin claims, why is the Tomaree Lodge site missing from the list?”

“It’s publicly-owned land and the Government has committed to keeping it for community use and open space.

“We know the community wants to put forward innovative proposals for the land.

“And yet, it’s nowhere to be found on this register.

“Seems odd, if Mr Martin is to be believed,” she said.

Melinda Pavey Minister for Water, Property and Housing has stated, “The Government Property Index (GPI) provides a free, one-stop shop for information on NSW Government-owned property and allows industry to put forward innovative proposals for that land to improve utilisation and benefits for local communities.

“Not only will the GPI provide transparency and accountability of the state’s vast property portfolio, it will encourage investment proposals through the establishment of a new public proposals process.

“We are always looking at how we can best leverage government-owned land and property to deliver better economic, social, environmental and cultural outcomes for the people of NSW.

“Better use of our data will lead to better decision-making and, ultimately, better housing outcomes for the people of NSW.”

The purpose of the list has been explained to News Of The Area as a tool that will allow the public, Councils, NGOs and developers to search for government owned land and put forward innovative proposals to put the land to better use.

This may include TSA or something else, such as additional community housing.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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