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Government ordered to release Tomaree Lodge future use documents

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Port Stephens residents and community groups should have a clearer understanding on the possible future use of Tomaree Lodge next month.

It comes after the NSW Government agreed to an Order for Papers that requires the Outcomes Report from the Community Consultation to be released within 21 days.

The request was made by Taylor Martin in the Legislative Council.

Tomaree Lodge is a former Large Residential Centre (LRC) for people with disabilities.

The decision to redevelop all LRCs was made by the NSW Government in 1998, predating the NDIS, and has had bipartisan support.

State politicians closed the last of the LRCs as they did not provide residents a quality of life, inclusion or opportunities for social participation available to other citizens.

Tomaree Lodge was later subject to a land claim by the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council.

In October 2022, the Land and Environment Court of NSW handed down its resolution, dismissing the entitlement and determined the NSW Government would retain the site.

A Community Consultation was undertaken by the former Coalition government.

However, it was not finalised prior to the 2023 State Election.

The Tomaree Lodge Site Potential Future Uses Community Consultation Outcomes Report was completed in April 2023 and handed to incoming Minister for Families and Communities Kate Washington in May last year.

“This is a win for the Port Stephens community,” Mr Martin said.

“Ms Washington has refused to release the document until now.

“Locals have been extremely patient waiting for progress to be made.

“So, it is good news that we will finally be able to see the results of the Community Consultation.

“I will be maintaining a watching brief regarding the future use of Tomaree Lodge… and I expect the government to act in a timely manner.”

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