SSR Enabled

Save Wakefield Park Group denied meeting with Local MP


Published at 11/23/2022

The organisers behind the record breaking ‘Save Wakefield Park’ ePetition have been dealt a blow following the failure to get the matter debated before the NSW Legislative Assembley.

At the same time, they have also been unable to procure a meeting with Wendy Tuckerman, Liberal Member for Goulburn & NSW Minister for Local Government.

“To date, Wendy Tuckerman has made public statements that she supports Wakefield Park, however her actions, including this recent refusal to meet, indicates the contrary,” said Jessica Nicholson, a petition organiser. 

“I’m sure I speak for everyone who signed the petition that we are extremely disappointed.”

AUTO ACTION contacted Tuckerman’s office for a response, in which her Electorate Officer provided direct comments, confirming the MP’s decision to not accept a meeting with the group, adding that it would be “inappropriate” towards the Park’s owners, the Benalla Auto Club (BAC).

She highlights that as the BAC told her office that they are not affiliated with the ‘Save Wakefield Park’  Group, that it would be counter-productive (although the BAC is on record saying it supports the group and its ePetition).

“BAC have advised this office that as the owners they are not affiliated with the ‘Save Wakefield Park’ campaign, and it would be highly inappropriate to discuss confidential business matters with third party persons, a meeting with Save Wakefield Park would not be productive to the issue which remains the sole responsibility of the owners of the facility,” Tuckerman was quoted as saying.

Tuckerman also claims that her office had invested a “significant” amount of time in assisting the group in its early stages, for them to then turn their attention and efforts to the Shadow Minister for Sports, Julia Finn, for “political leverage”, adding that:

“I assisted the Save Wakefield Park campaign, with my office spending a significant amount of my time and effort spent not only guiding the group through the matter affecting Wakefield Park facility but also the petition process – which was then given to another Member to be presented by another office at the last minute, for reason I can only gather was political leverage and promise from the Opposition which has yielded little result.”

In referring to Finn’s speech to the NSW Legislative Assembly on its last day of sitting, Tuckerman accuses the opposition Shadow Minister of not comprehending the issue.

“It was clear in Julia Finn’s speech that not only did she not understand the core of the issue which resulted in the facilities closure, she has not recently engaged with its owners, nor has she proposed any substantive solution other than crying out “do something” – which the NSW Government most assuredly has,” Tuckerman claims in a political back-and-forth.

Tuckerman also says that she will: “continue to engage with and support the facilities proprietors (BAC) in ensuring progress is made on the matter.”

On contacting the BAC Vice President Bruce Robertson for comment, he refutes the claim that Tuckerman or her office has had anything to do with them since an initial zoom meeting.

“The Benalla Auto Club is not seeing anything usable from Wendy Tuckerman, but it doesn’t mean she’s not doing anything in the background,” Robertson explained.

“In terms of the meeting with the Save Wakefield Park group, that’s very much her personal opinion not to do so, but I don’t see the link. That’s her prerogative, but I can’t see why meeting them would have any effect on us.”

In her aforementioned address to the NSW Legislative Assembly, Finn pointed out the stark inaction by the government on the matter.

“Months of inaction have dealt a real blow to Goulburn. There appears to be no recognition by the Government…putting your head in the sand will not make it go away,” Finn stated.

Motorsports is a big driver for tourism in the region and the Government has been absent in  dealing with this matter. Ministers have checked out. The Minister for Sport (Henskens) has been disengaged, disingenuous and disinterested. At budget estimates the Opposition asked if he had met the member for Goulburn, the raceway operator or the local council. The answer was no. Months after the Land and  Environment Court decision it appears that he just did not care.

“…All sorts of problems are facing community sport and there are no answers. The silence is deafening. What is happening in Goulburn is an absolute disgrace.”

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