G'ment sells land to Multitask

When Lismore Challenge Limited was approached by the NSW Education Department with an offer to buy land adjacent to their offices in East Lismore, the organisation jumped at the opportunity.

“The board agreed to purchase the land, but we haven’t bought it yet,” CEO of Multitask Ltd and Challenge Ltd Graham Mapstone said. “We just found out that the Minister for Education and Training Verity Firth has approved the purchase and now we are moving into the process of completing the purchase.”

Lismore Challenge Limited is a co-partner to Multitask Human Resource Foundation Ltd. The partner organisations have created a disability enterprise in East Lismore, which supports people with disabilities by creating employment for them.

“We provide support for them to get training and get into the workforce,” Mr Mapstone said. “We manufacture soap, sandals, run a green landscaping team and lawn mowing service, manufacture plant protection sleeves and other business support services.”

The purchase of the former Lismore Special School site will allow the organisation to expand its future operations and potentially employ more people with disabilities.

“We’re not sure exactly what we’ll do with the land yet; the board will have to make a decision,” Mr Mapstone said.

“We’ve had a 99 year lease on the vacant site since the mid-80s,” Mr Mapstone said. “City Farm used to be there and we’ve also ran a nursery there. There’s been no school building on the site for as long as we’ve been there.”

Minister Firth said the government’s policy is that the Education Department can only sell land that is surplus and no longer needed for educational purposes.

“The proceeds of sales from land identified as surplus are reinvested in capital works and maintenance and re-directed to areas of need,” Ms Firth said. “Changing circumstances, such as demographic shifts, require the Department to continually buy and sell land. It’s also purchased in growth areas to ensure that educational infrastructure is ready. Last year the Department sold land worth $25 million but purchased $31 million.”

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