Government to sell off public foreshore in Port Macquarie – Minister fails to consult community before announcement

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The NSW Government has confirmed yet another sell-off of public assets – a piece of prime public real estate along the foreshore of Port Macquarie, following a controversial expression of interest process that has angered the local community.

After visiting the site in recent weeks and meeting with residents, businesses and council representatives, Shadow Minister for Lands Mick Veitch has expressed serious concerns about the process undertaken by Government. The time frame was only 21 days and community consultation barely visible.

The Baird government also received a proposal from Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to keep the land in public hands but chose instead to sell it off.

The Department of Primary Industries confirmed on Monday that Woolworths was buying the land. The Baird Government was forced to launch an EOI process only after the local council became aware that the Government had begun negotiations to sell the site to Woolworths.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Lands and Water Mick Veitch:

“I cannot believe the Government would make this announcement while the community remains in the dark about the steps that led to this outcome – and before the Minister has even visited and investigated this process.

“Just last week in the NSW Parliament, the Minister stated he would be visiting Port Macquarie in coming weeks, yet now we see he will not be visiting to consult with the community but simply to announced the sell-off of their land.

 “It is inconsiderate to the community to announce this before the Minister has met with the people of Port Macquarie to hear their concerns. The Baird Government needs to explain why it felt the need to ram through this result. It looks like nothing more than a rubber-stamping privatisation process.

 “I am very concerned about the way the Baird Government is managing Crown lands in NSW, where local people have been continually sidelined from full and proper empowerment to make decisions about land that, ultimately, belongs to the community.