The end of agriculture at Glenfield’s Hurlstone Agricultural High School was officially given the green light on Monday.
An application to demolish several structures including the boilermaker cottage, agricultural staff rooms and stores, goat shed and agricultural science lab wing, was approved by the South West Sydney Planning Panel.
In late 2015 the state government announced it would sell off the Glenfield school’s farmland to accommodate development and relocate “Hurlstone” to the Hawkesbury.
The same plan was opposed by the Liberals when they were in opposition years earlier.
While the decision may be a fait accompli, Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong has vowed to fight until the end.
On Monday he addressed the panel and said the application signalled the start of the “full scale carve up and destruction of Hurlstone”.
“This is the Trojan horse that will lead to the eventual closure of Hurlstone and the carve up of its (farm) land,” he said.
“This is just the first domino to fall.
“But for me, I’m never going to give up on the fight or the local community.
“This has nothing to do with education, it’s just a greedy land grab."
There five person panel included Campbelltown councillors Darcy Lound and George Greiss, Professor Nicole Gurran, Stuart McDonald and chairwoman Sheridan Dudley.
Ms Dudley was the Education Minister’s chief of staff when the government announced the Hurlstone sell off. She voted on the application after declaring she did not have “reasonably perceived” conflict of interest.
Mr Chanthivong didn’t want to comment on whether Ms Dudley should have voted or not.
“It’s not for me to answer on her behalf,” Mr Chanthivong said.
“All questions regarding conflict of interest are best answered by the person involved.”
A spokesman for the planning panel’s secretariat said no one raised any objections to Ms Dudley’s decision to vote on the Hurlstone application.
“Ms Dudley’s involvement in determining the DA for alterations and additions to the school is separate from decisions made nearly two years ago by the NSW Cabinet in relation to selling part of the school site,” he said.
“Ms Dudley appropriately declared the potential conflict as required under the planning panels code of conduct. Ms Dudley considered that the conflict was not significant and remained on the panel.
“The opportunity was given to other panel members to raise concern with the way the declaration was managed but none did so.”
The spokesman said appeals could be lodged with the Land and Environment Court within three months of the decision if anyone believed an “improper process” had occurred.
Former Hurlstone student and Campbelltown Young Citizen of the Year Adam Herman said agriculture was a favourite subject of his when he first attended the school.
“From years 7 to 10 it was compulsory. It was one of my favourite classes – going to the farm, and learning about the animals and how food was grown,” the 2016 graduate said.