“The wetland area near Minmi was given to the Hunter District Water Board many years ago to use as a sewerage treatment plant, but now that Hunter Water is no longer using it as a treatment plant, it should be given back to the people and incorporated into the Hunter Estuary National Park,” said Aleona Swegen, Greens candidate for Wallsend.
“The wetlands and adjoining areas owned by Hunter Water at Minmi and Shortland are part of Hexham Swamp form a critical connection in the Lower Hunter Green Corridor, and should be protected as part of the Hunter Wetlands National Park,” said Ms Swegen.
“Wallsend residents have been telling me that they have requested the return of the land from Hunter Water, but that Hunter Water wants to profit from it. This land is the community’s land and its transfer to the community would not affect Hunter Water’s ‘bottom line’, as it would be a paper transfer from one state government entity (Hunter Water) to another (National Parks and Wildlife Service),” said Ms Swegen.
Clr Michael Osborne, Greens candidate for Newcastle said: “Hunter Water owns more than 3,000 hectares of land adjoining the state-significant Watagan range to Port Stephens biodiversity corridor, known locally as ‘The Green Corridor’.”
“The Hunter Water land, most of which covers the Tomago sandbeds, should be handed back and incorporated into the National Parks estate and properly managed for its conservation value,” said Clr Osborne.
“Hunter Water should still be able to extract water in accordance with their water licence, but the land and its ecosystems would be managed holistically with the adjoining national parks,” said Clr Osborne.
“The community has been working hard since 2003 to get The Green Corridor protected in the National Parks Estate and Hunter Water should do the right thing by the local community,” said Clr Osborne.
The Greens believe in the conservation of the state-significant Watagan range to Port Stephens biodiversity corridor and believe wetlands play a vital role in healthy waterways. The Greens support the rights of local communities and community based groups to participate in wetlands planning and management.
Contact: Aleona Swegen on 0405 168 727 or Michael Osborne on 0439 442 984