NSW PARLIAMENT 9 May 2012

La Perouse Market Gardens
Petition noting community concern about the expansion of Botany Cemetery into the heritage-listed La Perouse Market Gardens and requesting that the House act to protect the land and support rezoning by Randwick City Council, received from the Hon. Jeremy Buckingham.

Media Release:  9 May 2012

La Perouse Gardens part of Sydney’s
sustainable agricultural future

A petition has been tabled in the NSW Parliament calling on the Government to ensure the La Perouse Market Gardens are protected for ongoing local food supply.

The petition was lodged in the Legislative Council by Greens NSW agriculture spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham.

Mr Buckingham said, “The agricultural productivity from market gardens is almost 40 times higher than large scale agriculture. It not only makes sense economically, but it is more socially and environmentally responsible. These gardens should be protected for urban agriculture.

“Food security and sustainable employment are big issues for the future and local market gardens provide quality local jobs, reduce food miles and are an important social focal point for local communities. It is win, win, win.

Greens South Ward candidate in the upcoming council elections James MacDonald has said the future of the Chinese Market Gardens is in the state Government’s hands. Mr MacDonald said, “Randwick City Council is proposing to rezone the site to protect its Chinese agricultural history but the Department of Planning and Infrastructure will make the final decision. I call upon the O’Farrell Government to make a visionary commitment to protecting this valued local urban food source. .

“The Market Gardens are an ongoing contribution to both maintaining our Chinese agricultural heritage and a local food industry. Their destruction would be a terrible loss for the culture and sustainability of La Perouse.

“I will be using the council election to keep this issue in the minds of our state MP and the Planning Minister and working with the community to ensure it is protected as a food growing area.

Mr MacDonald questioned whether the low-lying flood prone site was suitable for use by the adjoining cemetery. He said, “The low-lying market site is flood prone making it unsuitable for burials but ideal for food production.”

A spokesperson for the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance, Jocelyn Howden said that the loss of prime agricultural land in the Sydney city region would mean Sydney-siders would be importing their food from further away. Currently 100% of leafy greens (including Asian vegetables) are still grown in the Sydney Basin.

“We need to encourage the government to protect all existing farming land from development of any kind.

“Growing vegetables locally and on-selling directly to local retailers is a good way to keep fresh food prices low, an important aspect of food security,” Ms Howden said.

Contact:    James MacDonald, 0400 372 889    Jocelyn Howden, 0407 254 415

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