Under a future Labor Government, any proposal to sell or transfer significant public land will first need to seek the approval of both Houses of Parliament, to end backroom land deals.
A Daley Labor Government, if elected later this month, will dedicate significant Crown Land, like showgrounds, travelling stock reserves and caravan parks for public purposes, which means that a future Minister for Lands would have to seek Parliament’s approval before removing protections.
Currently, protections can be removed at the stroke of a pen and public land can be handed over to developers without Parliamentary oversight.
Shadow Minister for Lands, Mick Veitch, made the announcement at Yasmar Reserve in Haberfield, alongside local member, Jo Haylen, after secret documents revealed an active proposal to transfer the historic site to Property NSW by the Berejiklian Government.
Property NSW is the Government’s in house real estate agent which has disposed of millions of dollars of public assets over the last eight years, including public housing properties in Millers Point and The Rocks.
The document obtained by Labor under freedom of information revealed that, with respect to Yasmar Reserve, Crown Lands has “been in discussion with Property NSW (PNSW) to develop a Memorandum of Understanding that would allow PNSW to take control of the site and assess options for future use” (see below).
“If elected, Labor will save Yasmar Reserve and afford it the same Parliamentary protection afforded to other significant reserves like Hyde Park, Bondi Beach and Rookwood Cemetery,” Mr Veitch said.
“These sort of backroom deals make a mockery of Premier Berejiklian’s announcement to appoint a minister for public greenspaces.
Labor will also establish a Crown Lands Commissioner as a permanent position.
Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen, said that the community will not accept any proposal to dispose of the Yasmar site.
“The neglect of Yasmar, the last heritage property of its kind left standing on Parramatta Road, is symbolic of the neglect of the public land under the Berejiklian Government,” Ms Haylen said.
“For eight years, the Liberals have presided over a disaster in the management of public land, and Yasmar Reserve is testimony to that.”
Labor also committed to restoring the Reserve Trust system that was abolished by the current Government.