Labor commits to buy back Mambo Wetlands

In Parliament | 07.03.18

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington and Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe have today announced that if the Premier refuses to reverse the sale of the Mambo Wetlands, then a Labor Government elected in 2019 will acquire the land under s145 of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Mambo Wetlands is a precious piece of coastal koala habitat on the shores of Port Stephens. A six hectare parcel of the wetlands was sold in 2016 by the NSW Government to a local property developer for only $250,000.

This land had officially been owned by the Department of Education and was sold as part of a state wide sale of “surplus” land.

While ignoring community objections at the time, members of the NSW Government have since described this sale as a “mistake”, and local Liberal Party members have been urging the Government to buy back the site.

18 months after the sale, the Berejiklian Government is reportedly looking at the feasibility of perhaps buying back the land in the future.

Local residents have already fought off one DA proposed for the site; with Port Stephens Council reportedly receiving the highest ever number of submissions on a development. The developer eventually withdrew the proposal.

Outraged at the sale of this land, local residents organised a petition which has since received over 14,000 signatures. The petition, calling for the NSW Government to buy back the land, will be debated in the NSW Parliament on Thursday 8 March at 4:30pm.

Port Stephens is home to an endangered koala population, currently estimated at around 200 – 500 koalas.

Local wildlife rescue group, Port Stephens Koalas, are currently developing a koala hospital which will support their rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe

“This Government has its priorities all wrong – it’s sold off core koala habitat to a developer in order to fund new stadiums in Sydney.” 

“A Labor Government will buy back the land and ensure that the koalas of Port Stephens have a home in the wild.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington

“I will be speaking on behalf of the 14,000 residents who have signed the petition during a Parliamentary debate this week, and urging the government to buy back the Mambo Wetlands. 

“My community’s message to the Premier is clear- you should never have sold it, and now you must buy it back. If the Premier does not act before the election, then the next Labor Government will buy back the land.”