Northern Beaches Council this week voted to make a submission to the Planning Department objecting to the redevelopment. Mayor Michael Regan is widely tipped to run as an independent candidate against the government in Wakehurst, where Hazzard is retiring.
Regan said he was worried safe Liberal seats were being “taken advantage of”. “[This has been] bulldozed through against the local MPs’ wishes,” he said.
“When you clear 45-plus football fields of land and put hard urban infrastructure in the path of bushfires, nothing makes sense. That land is bordered by [three] safe Liberal seats; they’ve kicked an own goal in that regard.”
Independents Zali Steggall and Sophie Scamps won northern beaches seats while campaigning on the environment at this year’s federal election and Scamps, the federal Mackellar MP, said she had met with Roberts to voice widespread community opposition to the proposal.
“The current plan for the Lizard Rock site would result in the destruction of our local environment, the loss of endangered wildlife, an increase in congestion and would only exacerbate problems around access to services for locals and is not sustainable on any measure,” she got
Scamps supports turning the site into a national park, which she said was “first proposed in 2013 by the [Land Council] itself”.
But Moran said it was a landmark opportunity to utilize land returned under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to achieve self-determination and generate economic, social and cultural benefits for its members.
Moran said the council had continually raised objections to the proposal even before properly considering expert reports. “We are becoming increasingly concerned with the language being adopted by some of the elected council officials at the council meeting on Tuesday night,” he said.
Independent councilor Vincent De Luca said some opposition to the planning proposal was condescending and “could also be perceived as prejudice and discrimination”.
“Suggestions [Aboriginal people] should be dictated to by privileged northern beaches residents and let their land be turned into a national park is ridiculous.
“Would those people who are making such demands be prepared to have someone tell them to give away or sell their properties? I think not.”
A planning department spokesperson said the proposal was not yet approved. “[The department] is currently preparing a report on the proposal for independent review by the Sydney North Strategic Planning Panel next month,” they said. That report would include comments from the Northern Beaches Council.
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