Government adding to crown lands uncertainty

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The Liberal/National Government must explain its plan for the proposed new Crown Lands Act – following a Land and Environment Court decision that will impact the administration of Crown land reserves across the state.

This week, the Land and Environment Court overturned a development approval in Newcastle – a ruling that could significantly impact the administration of Crown land and the Crowns Lands Act, which has been under review since 2012.

When questioned in Parliament, Minister for Lands and Water Niall Blair was unable to provide a timetable for the introduction of the new Crown Lands Act, nor indicate whether further community consultation would occur in light of this landmark decision.

“Crown lands are significant public assets, making up 42 per cent of the state,” Shadow Minister for Lands and Water Mick Veitch said.

“The Land and Environment Court ruling in Newcastle this week has significant implications for Crown land and the stakeholders who have a very real interest in the management of our Crown land.

“You can’t just turn a blind eye to a substantial ruling around public access to public land – but it appears the Minister doesn’t quite know what his own Government has in store for Crown lands.

“In light of this landmark decision, the Minister needs to press pause on any reforms to the Crown Lands Act and consult with the community and stakeholders.

“Communities around the state need certainty as the Government’s review of the Act has left matters up in the air – he needs to come clean on the Government’s intentions for public land in NSW.

“Everyone wants to know what the Government has in store for Crown land in this State. The Minister must act to end this uncertainty immediately.”