NSW local government

Developers should not be rewarded for donations scandal

"Developers donated millions of dollars to the Labor Party’s election campaign. They employed a Labor Party insider to head one of their main lobby groups." "Since being elected Labor has pushed ahead with proposals for the biggest re-write of planning laws since the 1970s with the stated aim of making it quicker and easier for developers to get their projects approved." "Labor did not disclose to the public that it intended to change the planning laws but does anyone doubt that this was being discussed at those Labor fundraising dinners to which the developers turned out in force," said Ms Hale. "The public are now deeply suspicious of just what the developers were expecting in return for their political donations, yet the developers continue to lobby for the government to push ahead with planning laws changes that cut the community out of planning decisions." "The developers" suggestion of so-called independent panels is exposed by what has happened at Ku-ring-gai where planning powers were taken from the Council and handed over to a panel and the Minister appointed a former development industry lobbyist as chairperson. The panel subsequently recommended a big increase in the areas to be zoned for development." "Planning panels are not independent when they are made up of people who work in and for the development and construction industry." "There is greater accountability when planning decisions rest with elected Councils rather than appointed panels," said Ms Hale. For more information: Chris Holley 02 9230 3030, 0437 779 546 Originally from

Labor dodging election backlash with Wollongong Council sacking

Election Should Be Called For Wollongong Council

The Iemma government should announce an election for a new Wollongong council rather than appoint a long-term Administrator to run the Council’s affairs.

"The appointment of an Administrator would deny the people of Wollongong the opportunity to pronounce their judgement on how the Labor Party has behaved in Wollongong," said NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale.

"There is widespread community anger in Wollongong about the behaviour of Labor’s councillors and their developer mates. The Iemma government has not earned the right to expect the people of Wollongong to trust it to appoint a long term Administrator."

"Elections for a new Wollongong Council were scheduled for September. That election should be brought forward and take place as soon as possible."

"Failing that, elections for a new Wollongong Council should take place as part of the state wide local government elections scheduled for September this year,” Ms Hale said.

NSW Greens MP, Lee Rhiannon has renewed her call for a Royal Commission into the relationship between developers and political parties.

"The public’s suspicion of corrupt relations between developers and politicians extends beyond Wollongong Council and into the state government."

"It is time for a Royal Commission to question under oath the developers, the Councillors, the Ministers and the party officials," said Ms Rhiannon.

"The Commission could then determine what undertakings were given to the developers when Labor Party officials solicited their donations and whether the donations influenced the Ministers’ decisions."

"With revelations about the use of stand-over tactics many potential witnesses in Wollongong are understandably reluctant to come forward, especially with Police Minister David Campbell being a former Mayor of Wollongong and the recipient of donations from some of those named at the ICAC inquiry. There is a need for witness protection for those with evidence of corrupt activities."

"The ICAC inquiry into Wollongong is too limited to properly investigate and expose the relationships between developers and politicians that have undermined public faith in the political process in NSW," said Ms Rhiannon.

For more information: Lee Rhiannon - 0427 861 568, 9230 3551. Sylvia Hale 02 9230 3030 / 0437 779 546

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