ABE Public Forum Presentation 13th September 2022

ABE Public Forum Presentation submitted to Council on 12th September 2022 Regarding NOM22/014Responses from Ministers to the Mayor, NOM22/015 Sale of Crown Road Reserve Adjacent Lot 6 DP 1171646 Turnbulls Lane Moruya and GMR22/089 Policy Review for Exhibition – September 2022

Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity to address Council this morning
regarding NOM22/014 Responses from Ministers to the Mayor, NOM22/015 Sale of
Crown Road Reserve Adjacent Lot 6 DP 1171646 Turnbulls Lane Moruya and GMR22/089 Policy Review for Exhibition – September 2022.

I am presenting today as the Co-convenor of A Better Eurobodalla (ABE), a
community forum working to achieve open, accountable and responsive government
in Eurobodalla.

ABE has applied our principles of good governance to today’s agenda, and offers the
following feedback on 3 items.

1) NOM22/014 Responses from Ministers to the Mayor

This Notice of Motion calls on Council to amend its current practices in order to allow
public release of responses received from Mayoral correspondence dealing with
Eurobodalla advocacy issues sent to State and Commonwealth Ministers. 

ABE supports the public release of Ministerial responses to such Mayoral
correspondence, as it will provide the Eurobodalla community with valuable feedback
which can help our community assess how other levels of government are
responding to important issues which affect the Eurobodalla region. This will facilitate
a better informed and more engaged community, who can more effectively acquit
their electoral responsibilities.

The release of Ministerial responses will assist greater transparency and
accountability in decision-making, so ABE supports NOM22/014.

2) Notice of Motion 22/015 Sale of Crown Road Reserve Adjacent Lot 6 DP 1171646 Turnbulls Lane Moruya

The Notice indicates that:

  1. Council advise Crown Lands that it withdraws previously stated support for the
    sale of the Road Reserve W633092 into private ownership. 
  2. Council staff prepare a report to Councillors exploring options for the land to be
    transferred to Council management for the use of open space and recreation, and as an active transport connection for South Moruya residents, including the future
    residents of the 96-lot residential development of Lot 6 DP 1171646.

ABE has presented to Council multiple times voicing concern over continuing
alienation of public assets (including the Batemans Bay Community Centre, Coopers
Island Road and Clarke Street Broulee), as well as regarding the Turnbulls Lane
Subdivision which adjoins the road reserve under consideration today (26th October
2021). It is encouraging to see a NoM which addresses these important issues. 

ABE considers that this Motion presents a valuable opportunity for Councillors to
take a proactive and constructive role in delivering improved planning outcomes
which will enhance a significant residential development project in the Moruya area.

The reasons put forward by the General Manager’s response for not supporting this
NoM do not stack up. Given that Council has received a “categoric” refusal from
Crown lands regarding disposal of Crown Road Reserve W633092 it is surprising
and possibly futile for Council to maintain its current position regarding the sell-off of
this land. It could be construed that the position put forward by the GM is more
supportive of a developer’s desired outcome rather than the community’s. Further, the very reasons put forward from the GM’s response indicate what additional work could reasonably be undertaken.
From the GM’s response:
However, the proposal to retain or purchase Road Reserve W633092 to be used as open space is not based on recreation planning considerations, and is not recommended, for the following reasons:
• It has not been assessed in relation to the wider open space and recreation network, the needs of the broader community and how open space at this particular location is a good ‘fit’

The use of the 4 years old Recreation & Open Space Strategy (ROSS) as a rationale
for not pursuing the actions outlined in this Notice of Motion is bizarre – just because
a parcel of land has not been assessed in the past does not imply it cannot not be
assessed in the future. In fact, that’s what should happen now in response to the
current situation and the Notice of Motion.
(GM’s reponse)
•the benefits and proposed uses of the land as open space have not been explored to support purchase or acquisition by Council

Again, that work should now be undertaken to inform Council’s decisions.

(GM’s response)
• the proposal does not take into account open space located in close proximity, or consider why this would be the most appropriate location for open space within the 96 lot residential subdivision (DA0632/20) housing development, approved in February 2022.

Well, yet again, do the work and provide Council with the information to make an
informed decision.

The ROSS should be used as an aid to decision-making, rather than a prescriptive
straitjacket which precludes new ideas or initiatives. It would also be worthwhile to
review the current utility of the ROSS in the light of the post-bushfire and pandemic
world in which the Eurobodalla Shire is now operating – business as usual is not a
viable option. 

The recreation, open space and active transport benefits of the actions put forward in
NOM22/015 for both the Turnbulls Lane community as well as the wider Moruya
community are obvious, and Councillors should support this community-enhancing

The reasons put forward by the GM to not support this Notice of Motion are not
based on the work that should be undertaken to support such a position. ABE
therefore supports NoM22/015, and urges Council to withdraw its previous support
for selling off the public road reserve W633092 at Turnbull’s Lane Moruya. 

3) GMR22/089 Policy Review for Exhibition – September 2022

ABE notes that this agenda item from the General Manager exhibits a fundamental
disjunct between the policies listed in the “Recommendation” section and the
“Background” section – none of the policies listed in the Recommendation actually
appear in the Background analysis.

ABE trusts that this glaring disparity is not indicative of the level of attention which
has informed the overall policy review. 

ABE recommends that this agenda paper should be withdrawn until a coherent and
consistent account of the policies under review is presented for consideration by

Thank you for your attention. 

Bernie O’Neil
A Better Eurobodalla