The ongoing political fallout from the controversial sale of Mambo Wetlands in Port Stephens has hit State Parliament with Labor accusing Duty MLC Catherine Cusack of misleading parliament.
Ms Cusack told the parliament last November that Port Stephens MP Kate Washington had failed to advocate the environmental values of the site. She also argued Ms Washington had lobbied the wrong Minister and suggested Ms Washington was to blame for not making the community’s strong opposition known to the government.
Documents released by Labor on Thursday through GIPA legislation include a copy of a cheque for $247,500 made out the the Minister for Education in July 2016 for the sale of the wetlands.
Additional government briefing documents prepared prior to the auction being approved detail the community opposition to the sale, and specifically mention Ms Washington’s advocacy against the selloff.
“These documents prove Catherine Cusack will say and do anything to protect, promote and defend the Liberal Party. She just cannot be trusted to tell the truth,” Ms Washington said.
“Ms Cusack should apologise for her blatant lies in Parliament, and start focusing on fixing her Government’s ‘mistake’ by returning the land to public hands.”
Ms Washington also released four letters she wrote to the ministers for finance and property and environment expressing concern about the proposed sale of the wetlands.
Labor Environment Minister Penny Sharpe has lodged a Notice of Motion calling on Ms Cusack to apologise.
Ms Cusack hit back at the claims: “Last year I told Parliament the Member for Port Stephens has made many mistakes in representing her community and my appointment as duty MLC is to correct those errors, ensure effective representation and ensure correct information is given to the community,” she said.
“Ten months later Kate Washington has issued an extraordinary media release accusing me of lying. Ironically it is overflowing so many errors it proves again the people of Port Stephens are not being properly represented in Parliament.”
“Ms Washington’s use of part quotes is very misleading. She still fails to grasp the Department of Finance conducted the sale of the land and the Minister for Environment needed to be fully informed.”
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