Crown land review puts Orange Showground management in the spotlight

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: NSW Trade and Investement has proposed to repeal legislation affecting the management of Orange Showground. Orange Show Society senior vice president Chris Ross and president Peter Naylor say more discussions are needed. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0605dcshowground1

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: NSW Trade and Investement has proposed to repeal legislation affecting the management of Orange Showground. Orange Show Society senior vice president Chris Ross and president Peter Naylor say more discussions are needed. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0605dcshowground1

A REVIEW into NSW Crown lands legislation could flag a change in Orange Showground’s management, according to the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW (ASC).

As part of its bid to simplify legislation and cut red tape, NSW Trade and Investment’s Crown Lands Legislation White Paper has proposed to repeal the Orange Show Ground Act 1897.

ASC president Tim O’Brien believed the action would remove the council as a trustee, placing the showground directly in the hands of the minister, and encouraged show societies to make submissions.

“Orange Showground is one of the key private trusts listed in the report and until we have reviewed its contents we will reserve  judgement on whether the moves are positive for any of the affected communities,” he said.

“[The state government] wants to manage showgrounds the same as sporting grounds or camping grounds, but they are all managed totally differently.”

The white paper said Orange Showground was held under a private trust set up under a private Act, but it should be brought under the new Crown lands legislation to make it consistent with other showgrounds.

Orange City Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the council would prefer to remain a trustee and would make a submission. 

“The city council acknowledges that because of this outdated state legislation, the showground has an overly complicated management structure,” he said.

“Any changes that make management of the showground simpler and still deliver a facility that benefits the community and showground user-groups is a good thing.”

Mr Reeder said the minister currently held powers of consent relating to any sale or mortgage involving the showground, and the appointment of trustees.

“The council doesn’t expect that the current powers would vary under proposed new legislation,” he said.

Mr Reeder said the review would not affect construction of the new pavilion or other scheduled maintenance.

“The showground remains a key recreational resource and it’s sensible that the council plays an ongoing role in the site’s local management and decision-making,” he said.

Orange Show Society president Peter Naylor said the united effort should continue.

“We’ve got to keep working with the council, it’s the only way we’re going to get the place up and going again,” he said.

Mr Naylor said the show society needed to focus on this weekend’s Orange Show, but would meet to discuss the legislation once it was complete.

Submissions close on June 20.

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