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Worimi Conservation Lands welcomes world-first facility

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A new $7 million NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) facility for 40 staff in the Hunter Coast area has been officially opened.  

This is the first time a property has been jointly-funded by both the NSW Government and a combined Aboriginal management board.  

It’s been 17 years since the NSW Government handed back more than 4,200 hectares of land at Stockton Bight to registered Worimi owners to establish the popular Worimi Conservation Lands (WCL) in partnership with NPWS. 

The WCL Board of Management, which manages Worimi Conservation Lands in partnership with NPWS, funded half of the construction costs.  

The NPWS office and depot was purpose-built on Worimi Conservation Lands, consolidating office and field-based operations that were formerly separate, while servicing future park management needs and reducing response time for incidents such as bushfires.  

More than 20 national parks and conservation areas are managed by the NPWS Hunter Coast area, and the new facility will enhance team communication, coordination, work efficiency and safety.  

The latest Hunter Coast Area office and depot will also establish a vital “home base” for WCL board meetings, with the building incorporating energy efficiency and other sustainability measures.

The board manages Aboriginal-owned Worimi Conservation Lands park to protect the natural and cultural values of the Stockton Bight landscape, while providing public access and promoting safe, sustainable recreational and commercial use.  

The new office is located at 4154 Nelson Bay Road in Anna Bay. 

Port Stephens MP Kate Washington attended the official opening on Friday 12 April. 

“In Port Stephens, we are proud of our national parks, and especially the world-renowned Worimi Conservation Lands,” she said. 

“This new combined office and depot space means all staff are on the one site to work more effectively to protect and manage our precious environments that are so special to the Hunter Central Coast. 

“This project is the culmination of many years of meaningful collaboration between local NPWS staff and the Worimi Conservation Lands Board – all involved are to be congratulated for their ongoing commitment to caring for country.”  

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Trish Doyle, who was also in attendance, said the collaboration between NPWS and the Worimi Conservation Lands Board of Management sets a shining example of what’s possible. 

“I was deeply honoured to participate in the opening of the new Hunter Coast area NPWS office and Depot and would like to commend the combined efforts of National Parks and the Traditional Owners,” she added.

“It was a privilege to gather in this extraordinary place and celebrate not only the logistical benefits of this new premises but also, the opportunity to strengthen the part Aboriginal communities play in protecting their cultural heritage.” 

Chair of the Board of Management for the Worimi Conservation Lands Jamie Tarrant said establishing a purpose-built office and depot on Worimi Conservation Lands had been a dream for the Board since 2008.  

“The Board have wanted to create a space the Worimi community could be proud where our staff can succeed and grow. In designing this space, we wanted to have the next generation aspire and be proud to work for NPWS,” he explained.  

“The Worimi Conservation Lands Board are delighted to partner with NSW NPWS to deliver the first office and depot of its kind in NSW.  

“We now have a place to come together and deliver our work in caring for Worimi Country.” 

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