The NSW Government has decided to hold off on the proposed sale of the vacant Crown Lands office at East Maitland following a call for the building to be awarded to the community.
Finance, Services and Property Minister Victor Dominello confirmed to Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison that the proposed sale of the lands office on Newcastle Road had been placed on hold for it to be assessed for community use.
It comes after Ms Aitchison wrote to Mr Dominello asking that Maitland be offered the same deal as Moree, where the local lands office was sold to Moree Plains Shire Council on behalf of the community for $1 with plans to re-use the building for a local museum.
The Maitland lands office has been declared surplus to government requirements by Property NSW.
A Property NSW spokesperson told Fairfax Media last month the government’s policy was to sell surplus property assets and reinvest the proceeds into infrastructure and services.
But Mr Dominello recently advised Ms Aitchison that he had asked Property NSW to put the sale process on hold to conduct a proper assessment of a community use proposal lodged by Maitland Regional Museum and to negotiate with Maitland City Council.
Maitland Regional Museum has submitted an unsolicited proposal for the future use of the building and has held a number of discussions with Ms Aitchison and Property NSW on its plans to develop a permanent museum space.
Ms Aitchison said the decision was a “huge win” for the community and said she looked forward to the assessment of the museum committee’s proposal.
“This is a tribute to the hard work of our community,” she said.
“Janece McDonald (museum president) and all of the members of the Maitland Regional Museum have been advocating consistently to develop cultural resources for our community.”
Dr McDonald said she was “very, very pleased” with the decision and was looking forward to negotiating with council and government over the use of the building.
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