Raising the BARR – Week ending 2 December 2016

Sport & Recreation Camps – For Sale

A really crucial part of a child’s school experience is the school camp.  In NSW Sport & Rec camps have been a vital cog in the wheel for the past 60 years.  The idea of the Government run Sport and Rec camp was to secure beautiful land and wonderful experiences for the children.  That’s why our S&R Camps are on lakes, rivers, waterways and even down at Jindabyne near the snowfields.  For many children, many of the experiences that they have at a Sport and Rec Camp will be the first, and sometimes only, time to do many of these things. Canoeing, archery, campfire, sailing, climbing walls, team building, high ropes, open fire cooking, etc.

Rather than being run as non-profit, Government subsidised, low cost centres, as they have been for 60 years, the Government have now decided that these centres should be sold off to for-profit businesses.  Of course, the obvious way to drive a profit would be to raise the cost to each child attending, reduce the staffing and staffing qualifications (rates of pay), cut back on food quality/quantity and reduce maintenance and upkeep of the facility.  The other obvious future of a for-profit centre includes high cost high end new accommodation being built on these Crown Reserves so that those with the cash can have the most wonderful of experiences, while those without will be excluded from access.  Locally, think to yourself of the beautiful sites at Myuna Bay and Point Wollstonecraft.  Imagine how excited developers must be at the idea of owning these parcels of land on our beautiful Lake Macquarie.  This is modern Baird-economics.

Crown Land – For Sale

Because NSW was established long before the Federation of Australian states, when white Europeans first settled in Australia in 1788, the land was declared the property of the Crown and thus became the property of NSW.  Don’t get me started on the declaration of the land as “terra nullius” which means “nobody’s land”!  In any case, Crown Land became the property of the state and has long had the condition of “broader public good and use” as a defining term and condition.

Two weeks ago the Government moved and passed new Legislation that will allow Crown Land to be sold off, handed over, given away, transferred, etc at the whim of the Government.  No longer will “broader public good and use” be a requirement.  This will be an enormous problem for local Government, showgrounds and parks and playgrounds across the State that are on Crown Land, for community halls and surf life-saving clubs, for gun clubs and Scout groups – the list goes on and on.  Another developers dream come true.