Home arrow News arrow Minister Gago's statement to the Legislative Council on St Clair Issue
Saturday, 25 October 2014
Minister Gago's statement to the Legislative Council on St Clair Issue PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I seek leave to make a Ministerial Statement about the revocation of community land classification sought by the City of Charles Sturt.On 10 November 2009 the City of Charles Sturt wrote to me seeking my consideration for the revocation for the land known as the St Clair Reserve.In order for any Council to revoke community land a proper process, set out by the Local Government Act 1999, must be followed.It requires councils to create a report on the proposed revocation and then consult with its community on this report.


The Report must contain:-
·       a summary of the reasons for the proposal to revoke the classification of community land;
·       if there is to be a sale or disposal of the land, details of any Government assistance given to acquire the land and a statement of how the Council proposes to use the proceeds;
·       an assessment of how implementation of the proposal would affect the area and the local community;
·       if the Council is not the owner of the land – a statement of any requirements made by the owner as a condition of approving the proposed revocation;
·       a map or plan defining the area of each piece of land for which revocation is proposed.

Under the Act, the Council must adopt a consultation policy and this policy forms the basis of the Council’s engagement with its local community. At minimum a Council is required to publish a newspaper notice describing the matter under consideration, inviting submissions and subsequently advising the consideration by council given to any submissions made.

The City of Charles Sturt has provided details of all the steps it has taken to engage with and consult with the community on the revocation and its response to those submissions.

It is my role to consider whether the Council has fulfilled its statutory obligations and followed the processes required under its consultation policy.

On receipt of the Councils documentation the application was forwarded to the Office of State/Local Government Relations for its consideration and advice.

I have now received that advice and have thoroughly and diligently considered the documentation before me.

I note that this matter is the topic of some controversy and the majority of submissions received by the Council were not in favour of the proposal.

I am mindful that it’s my statutory responsibility not to make judgement of the merits of the project, but to assess whether the Council has fulfilled the steps required in relation to Community Land Revocation as set out under the Local Government Act 1999.

It is for the Council to argue the merits of the proposal and its broader vision for how it’s community grows.

The application before me makes it quite clear that the Council has collected feedback, considered it and responded to each of those matters.

The application further details the Council’s consultation process:
·       Sending out over 1500 letters to landholders and residents living within 500 metres of the St Clair Reserve or
·       Letters and information to external stakeholders and community groups;
·       Placing a sign on the St Clair Reserve;
·       Advertisements in the Weekly Times and Portside Messenger on 19 August 2009 calling for public submissions;
·       Public notices in the above papers; and
·       Displays in the Civic Centre and Cheltenham Community Centre of the proposal.

On the basis of the information provided by the Council and departmental advice to me, I can confirm that Charles Sturt Council’s revocation proposal satisfies the requirements of the Local Government Act 1999 and I have written to inform the Council.

The Council will now need to consider whether to proceed with the revocation which would need to be approved by them at a future Council meeting.

Decisions about community land revocation are the responsibility of local councils because they are democratically elected to serve the best interests of their entire community.

Councils must consult to discover the views of residents and must ensure that the rationale for decisions is known.  Ultimately they are held accountable to their communities at the next Local Government elections.

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