No deal struck on Mambo Wetlands buy-back plans, minister confirms

PORT Stephens MP Kate Washington has branded plans to buy back Mambo Wetlands property sold off by the state government a “flop” after the government confirmed the land’s new owner has not agreed to sell it back into public hands. 

In November last year councillor Jaimie Abbott successfully moved that Port Stephens Council should appeal to the state government to intervene into the property, which has sparked community pushes to have it reclaimed into public ownership. 

In February, Premier Gladys Berejiklian wrote to the council to indicate the government would explore its options for purchasing the site through the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme. 

At the time mayor Ryan Palmer dubbed the Premier’s commitment “a huge and positive step forward”. 

But it appears plans to by back the site have hit a major hurdle. 

Asked in Parliament when the state would make a determination on the push to buy back the land sold in 2016, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said an offer had been extended. 

“At this point in time the owner of the Mambo Wetlands site at Salamander Bay has not accepted the offer,” Mr Roberts told Parliament in July. 

Labor MP Kate Washington said the state government had ignored the community when it sold the land originally.  

“The Liberal Government failed to listen to the community when they sold this land in a fire-sale, and now they’ve failed to buy it back,” Ms Washington said. 

“Our community shouldn’t have to continually fight against plans to develop the site. This land should never have been sold in the first place.”

A development application for the land was withdrawn last November.