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|Bid to save Common Trust land at Camberwell 20 Apr, 2010|
THE State Government’s decision to revoke the management of the Camberwell Common from the local community could be reported to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Members of the Common Trust were told on Thursday they no longer had control of the common.
They were told the New South Wales Land and Property management Authority (LPMA) revoked the 200 acre area as common land and made it crown land.
By way of a licence, the LPMA then took up an agreement with Ashton Coal who will use the land for grazing and access purposes until it is required by the mine for coal mining.
It is important to note that the area is in relation to a mining development now before the NSW Department of Planning for consideration and has not been determined.
A contingent of solicitors from the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) met yesterday to discuss the matter.
A spokesperson from the EDO told The Singleton Argus yesterday that a decision was made to assist the Trust, but that it was not known if a challenge could be made.
The Camberwell Common was revoked in the New South Wales Gazette on Friday and once gazetted, it is understood there is no legal ability to challenge it.
The Trust members made initial contact with the EDO on Thursday after being told the decision by the LPMA.
“We have decided to act, but still have to collect more information on the history of the Trust and we are in the process of getting that history now,” the spokesperson said.
The 200 acre common management was granted to the community in the 1880s and the spokesperson said that the age of the trust does present different challenges.
“Once we have that history we will have more of an understanding of what options we might have,” the spokesperson said.
The decision has ‘gutted’ the Trust and the comment from a spokesperson for Planning and Lands Minister Tony Kelly that the Trust had ‘refused to negotiate’ was infuriating.
Trust president Col Stapleton said getting a time that was suitable for members of the Trust, Ashton Coal and the LPMA was difficult, but all efforts to do so were always exhausted.
Trust members believed the LPMA meeting on Thursday would be about Ashton’s new mining proposal.
“The meeting arranged prior to that was cancelled by Ashton Coal,” Mr Stapleton said.
Arranging a meeting where just one member from the Trust was up against government department representatives and Ashton Coal was not an experience any on the Trust wanted to face.
Ashton Coal has said in a statement to The Singleton Argus that it has made every effort to engage with the members of the former Camberwell Common Trust and that it undertakes to be a responsible tenant of the land and “to work with all Camberwell residents.”