Secret Government deal forcing community horse owners off the historic Yaralla estate

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The NSW Labor Opposition has vowed to fight the secret O’Farrell Government deal to kick community horse owners off the historic Yaralla Estate and restrict public access to the popular site.

A secret deal has been signed between two arms of the State Government – the Sydney Local Health District and NSW Police – to move the mounted police horses to the Yaralla Estate on the Parramatta River at Concord.

Community members whose horses are currently agisted on the estate lands have been served eviction notices and given until 31 May to vacate.

Shadow Planning Minister and local resident Luke Foley vowed to fight on behalf of the community and horse owners against the deal.

“It is a scandal the community and local horse owners are being forced off a public estate because of a secret deal by the O’Farrell Government,” Mr Foley said.

“The Yaralla Estate, bequeathed to the State in 1938, has been set aside for public space and the agistment of horses.

“Local children can ride horses and families have been able to walk through the paddocks and picnic in the grounds of the Edwardian estate, just 13 kilometres from the city.

“No Expression of Interest (EOI) or public tender process was conducted before the Sydney Local Health District signed over the horse paddocks to the mounted police.

“There has been no transparency around why the licence with horseowners was terminated, and the conditions of the secret deal between two arms of the O’Farrell Government.

“The local community and horse owners were not consulted, despite the fact the land is specifically set aside for the purpose of open public space and horse agistment in the Walker Trust Act 1938.

“There are also serious concerns that public access will now be restricted at the estate, because of security requirements for the mounted police horses.

“Health Minister Jillian Skinner should step in and stop the removal of local community horses from the Yaralla Estate.”