Labor calls for no-sale guarantee

OPEN THE DOORS: Opposition lands spokesman Mick Veitch and Labor candidate for Orange Bernard Fitzsimon. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 1016dclands1

OPEN THE DOORS: Opposition lands spokesman Mick Veitch and Labor candidate for Orange Bernard Fitzsimon. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 1016dclands1

ORANGE’S Lands office staffing level has been among the hardest hit in the state and Labor wants to see it reinvigorated.

Opposition spokesman for Lands Mick Veitch visited the building on Sunday to push for a return to the 11.2 full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing level in 2011, which had dropped by 52 per cent to 5.4 FTEs by 2014, far more than the state average drop of 37 per cent.

The office is open by appointment only.

“What we’re saying to the government is restore the staffing, have office open so people can come here and have Crown lands matters dealt with and guarantee you’re not going to sell this block of land,” Mr Veitch said.

He said the Lands department managed 42 per cent of the state and administered Crown land leases, grazing licences and leases held by not-for-profits and services like the SES and RFS.

“The issue we have is this a lot of the maps and locations aren’t available online, they’re still paper records, but also there’s issues that arise with someone’s lease that can only be dealt with face to face,” he said.

Orange City Council resolved to submit an expression of interest in October to use unoccupied areas for community purposes and at the time, the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) confirmed there were no plans to relocate staff. ​

Mr Fitzsimon and Opposition finance spokesman Clayton Barr opposed shorter opening hours at Orange’s Services NSW outlet on Friday – Mr Barr said it was problematic when 22 per cent of Orange’s population did not have internet access.

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