St Albans Common gets last minute reprieve

St Albans Common's local minders have been recognised as dong a good job and so have been excised from new legislation that would have taken control away from the community.
St Albans Common's local minders have been recognised as dong a good job and so have been excised from new legislation that would have taken control away from the community.

A last minute meeting with Hawkesbury MP Dominic Perrottet on Monday, November 7 resulted in St Albans Common being excised from the draft Crown Land Management Bill. 

The bill would have taken control of the 1000-hectare common lands away from the community, which has been managing them since 1824.

St Albans Common Action Group’s Vera Zaccari said the community was lucky to have brought the problems to the Hawkesbury MP in time. 

“A tiny community making a huge noise can make a difference,” she said. “Democracy requires people to speak up. The St Albans community came together and did that.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to talk with government about options that are more suitable for us. We need to find a legal framework that covers us.”

The emergency meeting with Mr Perrottet took place at his Richmond office the day before the bill was due to be discussed again in parliament. 

“After this meeting, I spoke personally to Minister Niall Blair and communicated the concerns of the community,” Mr Perrottet told the Gazette. 

“Following this conversation, Minister Blair agreed to remove the section of the legislation that would have affected St Albans Common, and conduct further public consultation with them. We will always recognise and acknowledge the unique social, economic, environmental and cultural heritage benefits of St Albans Common."

However Ms Zaccari said while it was a victory for them, other communities who haven’t been so proactive would be in the same situation.

“It was unanimous in parliament that we were removed from the bill, but some of us are really concerned about the other commons in the state. We want to know what can be done for them.”