10,000 signatures collected for Mambo Wanda Wetlands buy back to spark NSW Parliament debate

The Mambo-Wanda Wetlands will be debated in parliament after a petition supporting a buy back of land earmarked for development reached 10,000 signatures.

Residents and supporters of efforts to see six hectares of land bought back from property developer Paul Unicomb and maintained as part of the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands rallied in Salamander Bay on Thursday morning to celebrate the success of the petition.

The petition, launched in November, will now trigger a parliamentary debate on the issue and reignite calls for the NSW Government buy back the parcel of land within the wetlands that was controversially sold at auction in 2016.

Thursday’s rally came on the eve of World Wetlands Day.

“Unfortunately we cannot celebrate World Wetlands Day for Mambo as the parcel of land – sold in error over a year ago –  is still in the hands of a developer,” Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group secretary Kathy Brown told the Examiner earlier in the week.

“We have decided to have a rally on the eve of World Wetlands Day to show that we are still here, and not going away, until the parcel of land sold is back in public ownership. 

“We need to show that we are still passionate about.”

A Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group president Irene Jones wearing a dress with "we want Mambo back" and other similar slogans written on it. She was collecting signatures for the petition at the Nelson Bay Australia Day event. Ms Jones is pictured with Paterson MP Meryl Swanson. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

A Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group president Irene Jones wearing a dress with "we want Mambo back" and other similar slogans written on it. She was collecting signatures for the petition at the Nelson Bay Australia Day event. Ms Jones is pictured with Paterson MP Meryl Swanson. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

A six hectare section of the Mambo-Wanda Wetlands was sold by the NSW Liberal Government in 2016 to Mr Unicomb for $250,000.

Since then residents have been campaigning for the government to buy it back.

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington and Penny Sharpe MLC, the Show Minister for the Environment, joined residents in Salamander Bay on Thursday morning.

“With over 10,000 signatures collected, this issue will now be debated in the NSW Parliament,” Ms Washington said.

“Since the ‘for sale’ sign went up, the community has opposed this sale.

“The government ignored the community when they sold it off, but this petition means they can’t ignore the community again.”  

Ms Washington thanked those who signed the petition, collected signatures, attended rallies and wrote submissions.

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