Posted on Jul 26, 2016

Crown lands Inquiry begins An Upper House committee has commenced an inquiry into Crown land in NSW. The committee is chaired by the Hon Paul Green MLC of the Christian Democratic Party, and includes representatives of the Liberal Party, the Australian Labor Party and the Greens. Mr Green said, ‘The people of NSW value Crown land as a public asset as it is home to a variety of important natural features and facilities such as parks, beaches, waterways and sports grounds and covers approximately 42 per cent of the state’. Mr Green continued ‘In recent years the NSW Government has foreshadowed wide-ranging reforms to the management of Crown land, including new proposed legislation. These proposals have been met with resistance by some communities as they consider Crown land to be under pressure from privatisation and private development’. ‘The inquiry was established to investigate the adequacy of community input and consultation regarding the commercial use and disposal of Crown land. The committee will also be considering the benefits of active use and management of Crown land as well as the most appropriate and effective measures for protecting it. In addition, the inquiry will consider the extent of Aboriginal Land Claims over Crown land and opportunities to increase Aboriginal involvement in its management’, Mr Green stated. The committee will hold public hearings in Sydney and regional New South Wales.  Details of these hearings will be available on the committee’s website. The committee is due to report by 13 October 2016. Further information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference is also available on the committee’s website. RFA frustrated by lack of information from DPI After seeking the assistance of DPI-Fisheries and the knowledge and experience that the four Trust-funded Access Officers could offer recreational anglers in NSW as part of this Inquiry, the RFA was disappointed to see that no help would be forthcoming to the RFA of NSW from DPI or the Trust-funded Officers. With NSW lacking an Executive Officer the role of presenting evidence on behalf of the state's 1,000,000 who contribute $15m annually in fishing licence fees has fallen to the volunteers at the RFA and its member bodies.  One of the greatest challenges facing anglers is securing fishing access. The RFA continues to work with the NSW government to consider how the future use and management of Crown lands can meet recreational fishing access needs. The RFA is taking a proactive role in retaining, maintaining and improving angler access to publicly owned freshwater and saltwater fishing locations.  The RFA is continually attempting to cooperate with managers from both the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Land & Property Management Authority of NSW who often overlook and undervalue the needs of anglers.  The RFA believes that the appropriate reservation of Crown land can ensure that angler access is secured for future generations, in addition to other uses of that land. Many are areas adjacent to Recreational Fishing Havens, National Parks and artificial reefs where public access is important.  The RFA will continue to work on preserving access to these irreplaceable, valuable public resources.  

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