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CATHERINE HILL BAY. A special place in NSW CATHERINE HILL BAY A unique history, bio-diversity, sustainability and community.

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Presentation on theme: "CATHERINE HILL BAY. A special place in NSW CATHERINE HILL BAY A unique history, bio-diversity, sustainability and community."— Presentation transcript:

1 CATHERINE HILL BAY

2 A special place in NSW

3 CATHERINE HILL BAY A unique history, bio-diversity, sustainability and community

4 CATHERINE HILL BAY Now being destroyed by an arrogant State Government greedy for the approval of developers

5 CATHERINE HILL BAY By using a controversial part of the state planning legislation to side-step the usual planning processes to destroy a precious piece of Australia’s heritage

6 CATHERINE HILL BAY Worse still – more of the same is in store for virtually every NSW community

7 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK!

8 On Sunday 11 February community groups from around the State rally in Sydney (11 am at the Archibald Fountain, Hyde Park) to protest against the State’s new planning laws

9 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! Catherine Hill Bay will be there (in red T-shirts) to protest against development proposals now under way which would make the heritage mining village 10 times bigger than it is today

10 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! The biggest of the two development proposals at the Bay (600 dwellings) by the Sydney developer RoseCorp, is on public display until 2 March. It can be viewed at the NSW Department of Planning’s website:

11 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! Catherine Hill Bay, on the Wallarah Peninsula 130km north of Sydney, has been acknowledged for almost 40 years by successive Governments as having environmental and heritage significance

12 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! The Government is already supervising a $5milllion rehabilitation plan – money provided by the mining company – to return mined areas back to natural bushland for use as recreational and conservation public open space – not for residential suburbs

13 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! The community is organizing on-going protests against what it believes is a planning system which seems to facilitate the interests of developers, contrary to the public interest, contrary to existing Government policies, and contrary to the advice of the Department of Planning itself. The new planning rules are a corruption of the planning system as we know it, not an improvement

14 CATHERINE HILL BAY IS FIGHTING BACK! Our web site

15 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS

16 Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to:

17 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: grant development rights where no such rights currently exist

18 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: ignore the objections of local councils and communities

19 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: sideline inconvenient Land and Environment decisions

20 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: ignore his own department’s advice and policies

21 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: ignore expert advice

22 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Planning Minister Sartor has extraordinary powers under the recently revised Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which enables him to: make far-reaching decisions that are not subject to legal appeal

23 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS Part 3A of the Act gives the Minister power to make planning decisions the rationale for which is not necessarily discernible. The public has no legal standing to appeal against these Ministerial decisions

24 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS THIS IS HAPPENING NOW AT CATHERINE HILL BAY

25 MR SARTOR’S EXTRAORDINARY POWERS SOON THE TECHNIQUE IS LIKELY TO BE APPLIED TO EVERY COASTAL COMMUNITY IN NSW WHERE DEVELOPERS WANT A FAST RIDE TO APPROVAL

26 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY

27 Mr Sartor has signed Memoranda of Understanding with two developers in which he undertakes to use “reasonable endeavours” to make zoning changes which grant development rights for a total of 900 dwellings where no such rights currently exist

28 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY This undertaking to the developers, on behalf of the government, was made before the developers’ Concept Plans were even put on public exhibition for comment by government departments and authorities, local councils, communities and objectors

29 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY Yet the Minister has a statutory duty to make decisions in accordance with a process set out in legislation and should not agree to support an application for his consent before exercising that duty in accordance with the legislation

30 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY The Minister is acting under Part 3A of the planning act, which sets few constraints on what he does, but he is obliged to at least “consider” a report from his department on an application under that part of the planning legislation. Yet he seems already to have signaled his agreement to rezone for development land currently zoned for a variety of conservation purposes

31 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY The Wallarah Peninsula Alliance formally nominated the area for inclusion in a new national park. A consequent assessment of the area conducted by the Department of Environment and Conservation concluded: “… the area is of extremely high conservation value…” and that “limited development opportunities are provided for within current land zonings”. The Department “supports the approach taken by both Councils (Wyong and Lake Macquarie) to recognize the conservation significance of this area in their planning instruments”

32 AT CATHERINE HILL BAY Mr Sartor’s own Department also actively argued against development at Catherine Hill Bay

33 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes

34 In 2005 the Department’s draft Hunter Region Strategy proposed the Catherine Hill Bay area for protection as “land that provides valuable economic, environmental and social benefits to the region.” This was partly based on a multi-criteria study which compared and ranked 91 sites in the Hunter Valley according to their suitability for development

35 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes Catherine Hill Bay was second from the bottom as one of the least suitable places for development

36 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes In May 2006 the Department produced for the State Cabinet a review of proposals by major landholders in the Hunter Valley to develop parts of their land in return for dedicating other areas for conservation

37 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes The Department concluded that “No development occur at Catherine Hill Bay”. The lands there were “located in a highly strategic position in terms of conservation. The Wallarah Peninsula is rich in biodiversity, as well as providing keystone conservation landscapes that link two sets of coastal habitat (littoral and estuarine)”

38 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes The department advised that the Coal and Allied lands under review were “of such significance that even without dedication (by the company) Department of Environment and Conservation will seek acquisition using funds raised through regional infrastructure levies”

39 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes At that time, RoseCorp’s lands were not even under consideration by the department, but within four months the rules had been turned on their head and Minister Sartor had his “good deal” with RoseCorp and Coal & Allied

40 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes In July RoseCorp lost its appeal to the Land and Environment Court against rejection by Lake Macquarie City Council of a proposal for five storey apartment buildings on the Catherine Hill Bay headland. The company’s negotiations with Mr Sartor expanded to cover its land at Catherine Hill Bay and Gwandalan (the former estate of HIH head Ray Williams) on the shores of Lake Macquarie

41 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes By October, the final Hunter Region Strategy Plan showed that both RoseCorp and Coal & Allied would be given development rights at Catherine Hill Bay, in return for the dedication of most of their land for conservation. This significant change to the regional strategy was introduced as a fait accompli, not open to public consultation

42 What Mr Sartor’s Department of Planning believes RoseCorp and Coal & Allied signed MoU’s with the Minister on the 16 and 17 October RoseCorp has a Concept Plan on exhibition until 2 March Coal and Allied’s concept plan is expected to be made public later this year after a program of public consultation

43 The Final Word

44 For almost 40 years - since thousands of people in successive State Governments, local councils, various government departments, specialist consultants, even the Land and Environment Court and the coal company which exploited the area for a century have gradually strengthened the protection of Catherine Hill Bay and the Wallarah Peninsula, because of its environmental and heritage values

45 The Final Word But last year the Minister for Planning, Mr Sartor, used unfettered powers given to him by the State Government under controversial additions to planning legislation to wipe out these four decades of bipartisan endeavour committed to the public interest

46 The Final Word And he has done so against the formal advice of his own department and in the face of State, regional and local planning policies to the contrary

47 The Final Word He even promised in a formal government undertaking which sets out his deal with the developer at Catherine Hill Bay that he is committed to using “reasonable endeavours” to implement the re-zoning of conservation land to give development rights where no such rights currently exist

48 The Final Word And he gave this commitment months before the formal assessment process had even begun

49 The Final Word On October 10 last year the Newcastle Herald editorial took a skeptical view of Mr Sartor’s declaration that he had made a “good deal” at Catherine Hill Bay:

50 The Final Word On October 10 last year the Newcastle Herald editorial took a skeptical view of Mr Sartor’s declaration that he had made a “good deal” at Catherine Hill Bay: “A national park on the fragile Wallarah Peninsula between Lake Macquarie and the Pacific Ocean will certainly be a gift to future generations. But it will be tragic if the national park has to be obtained at the cost of destroying the historical Catherine Hill Bay villages and landscape. The development footprints on the maps suggest that the villages will be swamped by big housing estates”

51 The Final Word On October 10 last year the Newcastle Herald editorial took a skeptical view of Mr Sartor’s declaration that he had made a “good deal” at Catherine Hill Bay: “Mr Sartor has made himself the consent authority for developments at Catherine Hill Bay. While this gives him carte blanche, Mr Sartor would surely not want to go down in history as the man who destroyed a precious piece of Australia’s history”

52 The Final Word On October 10 last year the Newcastle Herald editorial took a skeptical view of Mr Sartor’s declaration that he had made a “good deal” at Catherine Hill Bay: “A society that obliterates its past faces a soulless future”


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