10 December 2009 - 471 days to NSW Election
Elizabeth Farrelly has another excellent column in the SMH about Premier Keneally's devotion to the property industry. During Keneally's almost one year and three month reign as NSW Minister for Planning she made 422 determinations, mostly under the despised Part 3A legislation. A total of three were refused while the other 419 proposals with more than 10,000 public submissions between them were approved. "Social justice" for all those donor developers has been practiced.
As Ms Farrelly points out, "You can't help feeling her (Keneally's) mental model for NSW is something like her home town, Toledo, Ohio, where edge cities are rampant, all transport is road transport and even the malls are dying from excess competition."
Elizabeth Farrelly in her SMH column on 10 September 2009 lists the myraid problems with planning in NSW, including the negative impact of political donations. She says the current planning system seems to be a "conspiracy of incompetents." Ms Farrelly correctly states, "The answer is not a new planning act. The answer is to elevate planning above roads, transport, housing and infrastructure; to make a long-term plan that only Parliament can change, and to apply it fairly and honestly."
Linton Besser correctly points out in the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 September 2009 that the NSW Labor government is is deep trouble due to its close relationship with the property industry. Data from the Australian Electoral Commission shows that the NSW ALP has received over $14 million in property donations in the past eight years.
During the same period the NSW Liberals have received over $8.6 million in property donations even through they have been out of government the entire time. Therefore, Besser is right to ask where will O'Farrell look when property developers pull up at his table?
Obviously the only reasonable course of action is to follow the demands of the Greens and totally reform the electoral funding system.
On 31 August 2009, the Land & Environment Court blocked plans by the large property developer Rose Group to build 600 houses at the coastal hamlet of Catherine Hill Bay, south of Newcastle, and another 187 houses at nearby Gwandalan on Lake Macquarie.
IN HIS withering decision, Judge David Lloyd never mentions the $143,500 Rose Group donated to the Labor Party in the lead-up to the last NSW election. But he does something more. He describes what happened at Catherine Hill Bay as a ''land bribe'', exposing Labor's coziness with property developers.
MEDIA RELEASE - 6 September 2008
NSW Greens MP and Planning spokesperson Sylvia Hale has welcomed the dumping of former Planning Minister Frank Sartor from the cabinet and has called for a review of Mr Sartor's recent controversial approvals for large scale residential projects at Catherine Hill Bay, Sandon Point and the former Ryde rehabilitation hospital site.
"Frank Sartor was much too close to the development industry. He had to go because people no longer believed that planning decisions were being made on merit but were being influenced by party political donations, said Ms Hale
The ongoing conflict between Ku-ring-gai Council and Planning Minister Frank Sartor is a glimpse of the future for all local communities if the Minister succeeds in getting his planning law changes through parliament later this year, Greens MP Sylvia Hale said today.
Minister Sartor recently removed Ku-ring-gai Council’s planning powers over its town centres and created a planning panel to take overthose powers. He then appointed a former development industry lobbyist to head the panel.
Acting on the panel’s recommendation the Minister has massively increased the amount of land in the municipality zoned for apartment development, ignoring the objections of the local community and the elected local council.
By Lee Rhiannon and Dr Norman Thompson
Published 7 May 2008 in New Matilda
This week, amid Iemma's power dilemma, MP Frank Sartor was referred to ICAC over donations from property developers. The cash-for-approvals scandal is not going away in NSW.
The NSW Iemma Government continues to lurch from crisis to crisis. Over the past weekend it suffered what Labor Party historian Peter Botsman calls a loss "as close to [unanimous] as could ever be at a State Labor conference" over the issue of privatisation of the State's electricity industry. Only the top end of town and those former Labor leaders with positions in the financial companies standing to gain from the privatisation applauded the Premier's stance.
Greens MP and donations spokesperson has criticised the Government's new political donations law, saying that Premier Iemma has gone back on his word to clean up donations before the September local government elections (p 4, Sydney Morning Herald).
"The new donations laws just passed by NSW parliament will not stop the kind of corruption scandals we have seen this year happening in Wollongong," Ms Rhiannon said.
"The Premier is duping the public when he says this law will clean up donations. The reality is that these laws entrench the culture of political donations in NSW.
The announcement by Planning Minister Frank Sartor that he is taking over approval authority for the Carlton and United brewery site on Broadway on the same day a plan by Treasurer Michael Costa for unplanned land releases in south-west Sydney is revealed, raises the question of whether new urban slums are to be the price of Labor's re-election campaign.
Another Government Favour for a Big Party Donor?
Reports in today’s Sydney Morning Herald (p. 9) that Planning Minister Frank Sartor is about to overrule independent advice and approve a major residential development at Catherine Hill Bay continues the pattern of the Labor government favouring the interests of party