The Minister for Lands and Water today acknowledged that Juvenile Justice has not paid a cent in rent while using the Yasmar Estate in Haberfield, at the same time leaving the building and grounds to fall into disrepair.
Lands bureaucrats made the admission in Budget Estimates hearings today.
They also revealed that discussions had been going around in cricles for a number of years – without any agreement or any rent being paid.
The Yasmar Estate is a key heritage item in Haberfield, one of the last “great houses” in western Sydney. Its grounds and buildings have fallen into disrepair over the years, with little investment made into preserving the property.
Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill, last month moved a motion in Parliament calling for greater investment to protect Yasmar, while at the same time keeping it in public hands.
Labor believes that more than $1 million could have been collected and used to help restore the Yasmar historic homestead.
Quotes from Jo Haylen, Member for Summer Hill
“Yasmar is a key piece in Haberfield’s heritage and must be looked after.
“We’ve already lost too much of Haberfield’s heritage already under this Government and can’t afford to lose any more.
“The community have put up with the property not being open to the public, but won’t be happy the Government hasn’t paid a cent in rent for all that time. That’s put the property at risk.
“This Government doesn’t care about heritage – look at Haberfield, look at St Peters, look at the Sirius Building in the Rocks.
“Once again the inner west is being ripped off.”
Quotes from Vince Crow, President of the Haberfield Association.
“What’s been allowed to happen to Yasmar is beyond belief.
“There’s a jungle where beautiful gardens used to be and the buildings are neglected and in disrepair.
“It is very disappointing to think of the money that could have been raised and put back into preserving the property. It is such a waste.
“The inner west can’t afford to lose Yasmar. We’ve lost too much already.”
Quotes for Shadow Minister for Lands, Mick Veitch MLC
“Labor has asked on a number of occasions whether a Government agency is squatting on Crown land and not paying rent.
“The bombshell today that no rent has been paid breaks Treasury directions and is a dereliction of duty by Crown Lands and its Minister.”