By-election candidates address concerns over lack of consultation and transparency over development of Ben Boyd National Park | Bega District News

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The controversial $7.9 million development plan for the Light to Light Parkway in Ben Boyd National Park is a contentious election issue for many residents and stakeholders on the far south coast. The Ben Boyd – Light to Light Walk – Community Action Group (BBLLAG) and the Green Cape Fishing Alliance (GCFA) are both calling for more consultation, publication of the costs of using the park after development and a postponement of the project. The start date for a separate Boyds Tower visitor infrastructure upgrade project began on February 8, but the official start date for the Light to Light project has yet to be released. With the Bega by-election scheduled for Saturday February 12, the candidates were asked about the development. Five responses were received, all agreeing to meet and discuss with the community. PAST COVERAGE: Greens candidate Peter Haggar says his party is opposed to the privatization of the national park and that it is a party priority to stop “inappropriate developments planned for the Light to Light march”, which whether he was elected or not. “No decision should be made without proper community consultation, especially when it involves such an important part of our place.” local residents. “It’s a clear case of putting profit before people – something this government keeps doing time and time again,” he said. Liberal candidate Dr Fiona Kotvojs said that as a strong supporter of our parks and an avid bushwalker, she was concerned the community would feel unheard. “I intend to meet with the local community to hear their concerns directly. If elected, I can arrange a meeting with the NPWS and the Minister to ensure that the community has the opportunity to put forward their points. of sight. “I believe our NPs are our heritage, and I will fight hard to protect them for future generations,” she said. Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Victor Hazir said his party denounced this “bad consultation process when it started” in the Upper House. “NSWNP has a history of token consultation presenting management plans to the community and then outright rejecting any comment. “Public land is meant to be open and free to all, I do not support the public being locked or discouraged to access the public land. “My colleagues in the Upper House have the ability to question the Minister and the Department through budget estimates and, if necessary, make an SO52 parliamentary call for documents to forcibly release information.” Sustainable Australia Party candidate Karin Geiselhart said development should be halted until community concerns, adequate binding transparency requirements and a sufficient timeline for collecting responses have been met. “Australia should retain, and where appropriate regain, public ownership of Australia’s key public assets, in order to serve the wider public and national interests. “Any housing development must be designed to be affordable for all . This should be written into all contracts. “We need a transparent, democratic and environmentally sustainable planning system. I would fight for proper community consultation, including citizens’ juries on key issues such as this,” she said. Independent candidate Ursula Bennett said community consultation and sufficient response time were essential and that “community consensus should be binding on the outcome within the common law parenthesis”. “The role of government is to collect taxes to operate certain infrastructure that is open and used by all. “If public assets are sold, they should not be sold to a foreign entity, and sold in such a way that citizens have the ability to buy shares, like what happened with the sale of Telstra 30 years ago,” she said. Labor candidate Dr Michael Holland said national parks are one of our most valuable public assets and are both important conservation areas and engines of our local economy. “Over the past ten years, national parks have seen their budget cut by more than $120 million, which means they are forced to commercialize many of their activities to try to fill the funding gap,” he said. he declared. urgently reviewed and there must be genuine community consultation. “If elected, I will meet with local groups as soon as possible and bring them together with national parks staff to resolve issues.” “The current proposal is unacceptable,” he said. CANDIDATE PROFILES:

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