I'm deeply concerned about Minister Pavey's shock announcement (18/10/21) that Berrima Gaol would be put to freehold sale, without concern for due process.
She was aware through the local member Wendy Tuckerman that the community are passionate about their cultural heritage, and had led us all to believe there would be proper consultation (ABC Illawarra interview 18/9/21).
Instead, a heritage jewel in our historic crown is being flogged.
Why is this process being rushed? This icon has been a part of our community here for nearly 200 years. There are many stakeholders.
Wingecarribee Interim Administrator Viv May had only just announced his intention for the council to develop a vision statement on the future of the site (Community Minute 13/10/2021).
This was to be done in collaboration with the State Government and local community.
Such a statement could be guiding 'Expressions of Interest' for the site.
Yet instead we have Collier's stated intention to simply sell it off to the highest bidder (possibly from overseas). I find this highly inappropriate.
Politicians are elected to represent the community. How can they represent the community if they have not consulted the community? As it stands, this is yet another example of Sydney politicians riding roughshod over the interests of the regions.
We want to ensure long-term profitability for the region: economically, culturally, and socially. If we get the process right we'll get the outcome right and it can be a win for all concerned.
Department bureaucrats suggesting there'll be an opportunity 'down the track' in the process to consult the community does nothing to rebuild the trust that has already been broken.
The horse needs to be put back before the cart, and taken off the freehold market until due process is attended to.
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