Changes to the Crown Land Management Act 2016 and the updated regulations have serious implications.
The Act allows for Crown land to be transferred from State Government to local councils and unfortunately in some cases, land will be under risk from land use changes and potentially sold off for development. You can read the HHT’s 2017 submission about the proposed changes.
Hunters Hill Council has endorsed setting up a Property Advisory Working Party ‘to look at all of Council’s property assets to determine if they are performing a community benefit; developing strategies for the future of Council’s assets; and investigating opportunities to invest/reinvest in property assets’. There will be 3 Councillors and 3 community representatives on the working party. We are especially concerned for our existing community facilities, heritage assets and open spaces.
The changes to the regulations also allows officials to ban people from taking part in gatherings on public lands – which can include town squares, parks, roads, beaches and community halls. The Council for Civil Liberties (CCL) strongly opposes this and has stated:
“The NSW Government has responded to our criticisms by arguing that the new regulations are broadly the same as previous powers granted under the soon to be superseded Crown lands legislation. This argument is factually correct, but does not affect our criticism of the substance of the powers granted under the regulations in question.……….
CCL believes that giving public officials the power to ban people from taking part in gatherings on public land – land that constitutes half of all land in NSW – is an unacceptably broad power. It is foreseeable that such powers may be subject to abuse. The existence of similar previous regulations does not demonstrate the merit of either sets of regulations. The question that matters is whether it is appropriate to grant such powers to public officials. Powers that can be used so oppressively should not be on the books at all.”