Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ACT NOW - Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) Bill 2013


Please write or phone Upper House Members of Parliament:

The Premier of NSW (premier@nsw.gov.au)
The Hon Tim Owen    newcastle@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Leader of the Opposition LOP@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Shadow Minister  Luke.Foley@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon. Robert Brown robert.brown@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon. Robert Borsak  robert.borsak@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon Fred Nile F.Nile@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon Paul Green paul.green@parliament.nsw.gov.au
The Hon. Jeremy Buckingham jeremy.buckingham@parliament.nsw.gov.au


Crown Lands Amendment (Multiple Land Use) Bill 2013 is now before the NSW Legislative Council (Upper House).

This Legislation will give the Minister and his delegate controlling Crown Lands the power to alienate the lands with extra uses without notification. The meagre safeguard of public notification and management principles in the current Act will be bypassed.

The changes further weaken the current Crown Lands Act and deny the public protection of Public Reserves and should be rejected. It will only clear the way for clandestine corruption.



There is currently before the NSW parliament a bill to amend the Crown Lands Act. It has passed the Lower House and will be debated in the Upper House on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The amendment allows the Minister to override the dedication of the land and grant a lease without the present constraints of the Act.

Presently, the Minister has the power to grant a lease for purposes that are contrary to the dedication of the land but the lease has to be gazetted and subjected to parliamentary scrutiny.

These checks and balances will be removed if this bill is passed.

Crown Land will no longer be protected.

It will allow the effective sell-off and commercialisation of some of the most important and prominent pieces of real estate in NSW.

It is done under the guise of protecting the validity of existing leases. This is a nonsense!!
Scout halls, kiosks, surf clubs are valid community uses of public land and are hardly likely to be challenged. This is a grab by the state government for precious public land that is supported by many cash strapped Councils who can see a cheap and easy option to make money out of crown land.

Friends of King Edward Park Inc. have been fighting for 2 years in the courts to protect publicly dedicated land in NSW against development that is contrary to its dedication and to preserve the Headland Reserve. This has been acknowledged in the Land and Environment Court as a test case with merit. The introduction of the amendment neatly absolves the Minister of his liabilities.

Don’t let this bill pass through parliament. Put your objection in an email today. Preserve our precious public spaces for future generations. Use the points above if you can for your email or forward the attached form letter.

Doug Lithgow
President of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement
A Freeman of the City of Newcastle

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Newcastle Heritage Railway Station must remain a unique railway destination in the Newcastle urban renewal strategy 2012. 

The O'Farrell Government has acted recklessly in announcing a termination of passenger rail services to historic Newcastle Station at the same time as announcing a new transport interchange will be built at Wickham, a suburb of Newcastle, with buses replacing trains.

No Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared for this proposal.

The rights of the disabled, the young and the elderly, indeed all railway users have been discriminated against without the slightest consideration in this reckless announcement.

Concerning cross rail connectivity: in recent years HDC has overseen the removed 3 pedestrian over-bridges and 2 vehicular level crossings. (Over-bridges at Bolton St, Worth Pl. and Cooper St. & Level crossings at Hannell St. & Market St.)

Two new replacement Level Crossings should be completed at Steel Street and Worth Place. (the roads each side of the railway have been in place for many years). The 3 pedestrian over-bridges could be replaced at convenient locations between Wickham and Newcastle.

Newcastle Rail Station Heritage importance & accessibility : 

The Newcastle Railway Station is a heritage place having the distinction of being a unique terminal station of the second passenger rail system in NSW (The Great Northern Railway: 1857 - Newcastle to Maitland) the station is situated in the heart of historic Newcastle close to the harbour Foreshore and the Newcastle Beaches. It is listed on the NSW State Heritage Register and is surrounded by other State Heritage Items: the Coal River Precinct including Nobbys Headland and Fort Scratchley and the Convict Lumber Yard. The wonderful Customs House with its distinctive clock tower and Time Ball and the Great Northern Hotel are heritage listed sites adjacent to the station. Many elderly and disabled people as well as commuters from the Central Coast and from the Hunter Valley including Maitland travel to Newcastle rail station  to access this unique destination and appreciate its excellent accessible platforms with their easy access to the harbour and Stockton Ferry and existing bus interchange.

The announcement must be set aside and the passenger rail services be made a feature of the Renewal Strategy with improved pedestrian access to Wickham and Civic Stations and the replacement of the connectivity removed in the past two decades.

The legal machinery to correct this situation must be invoked by directing the Hunter Development Corporation to review its "Approved Scheme" which is totally inappropriate for its widened responsibility over the whole Hunter Region.

The Hunter Region deserves better, Premier O'Farrell.

Doug Lithgow