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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1328

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (13:30): St Albans Common in the electorate of Macquarie was granted to early settlers and residents of the Macdonald Valley by Queen Victoria, and has been successfully managed since 1824 by valley residents in accordance with the original deed of grant. The trustees and commoners have been the custodians of this living heritage for nearly 200 years. The connection is very deep, with working bees, musters, care and maintenance done voluntarily by the commoners themselves.

But a promise last year to exempt the common from New South Wales state legislation has been broken by the New South Wales government. The proposed legislation basically abolishes the concept of a common, and with it 200 years of New South Wales history. The government wants to replace the elected trustees with land managers appointed by a minister. This amounts to a seizing of control of a community asset paid for by the commoners since its inception. It creates a potential for control of this amazing area, which is loved by those who live in St Albans. You can only be a commoner if you are a resident of St Albans. This will take this asset out of their hands and puts it into the hands of people whose interests may not be aligned with the community.

The New South Wales government needs to keep its promise to the people of St Albans and to the Macdonald Valley. It needs to keep its promise and it needs to keep its hands off our St Albans Common.