Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) welcomes the release of the report by the Independent Reviewers into Barangaroo. This review was instigated by the new State Government following legal action and the presentation of an 11,295 signature petition by AfSD which focused on deep community concerns regarding a number of issues surrounding this $6 billion development.
AfSD spokesperson and City of Sydney Councillor John McInerney said that while AfSD is grateful that this independent review has taken place, there are mixed feelings about the final results.
“The report contains some big wins for the community, although it could have gone a lot further.
“The Reviewers state that approval for the hotel in the harbour ‘had the effect of undermining confidence in a variety of related laws and decisions, and was therefore not good public policy,’ and should be reconsidered ‘as if the rezoning had not occurred.’ AfSD firmly believes this most unpopular and ill-conceived component of the whole development should not go ahead. Premier O’Farrell has stated his support for this recommendation, so hopefully the Government will begin negotiations with Lend Lease regarding relocating the hotel as a matter of urgency.
“The report also recommends that City of Sydney be given a formal role in planning the Barangaroo Central precinct as part of a new joint planning committee. The previous sidelining of the Council, as the body that will have to deal with the ramifications of the development for decades to come, was a complete travesty and a total disregard of due process. As a Councillor I look forward to the City working with the Barangaroo Delivery Authority (BDA) to achieve the best possible outcome for this site.”
Clr McInerny said AfSD was also pleased with the Independent Reviewers’ recommendation to moderate the bulk and scale of the two commercial buildings yet to receive planning approval.
“AfSD can only agree with the Independent Reviewers’ comment that ‘a raft of small and large mistakes and mishandlings, which taken together, have created an air of crisis around the development.’ The Reviewers’ concerns regarding the level of consultation, communication and transparency regarding Barangaroo have been of primary concern to AfSD and the community. AfSD supports the recommendation for a review of the membership of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority Board and for a new ‘face’ for the Board’s communication with the public.
“AfSD welcomes the Premier’s announcement of the appointment of Mr Terry Moran as the new Chair of the BDA, and believes this appointment and other recommended governance reforms will go a long way in addressing the Reviewers’ view that this ‘project has been bedevilled by perceived conflicts of interest.’ Also the Reviewers’ suggested reconsideration of the role of NSW Government Architect has great merit. ”
“It is important that the public’s confidence in the governance of this important development of public lands be restored. Premier O’Farrell taking responsibility as Minister for Barangaroo is an important step towards the Reviewers’ recommendation that the Minister for Planning be at arms length from this development.”
However AfSD still has concerns about a number of other issues with the project.
“Unfortunately the review doesn’t address the significant financial risks posed to NSW due to the cost of the headland park and the lack of commitment to transport solutions.
“The review gives no answers as to how the 23 0000 extra workers Barangaroo will bring to the City everyday will access the site without throwing an already strained public transport network into gridlock – the Government needs to come up with a solution to this as soon as possible. The Premier has announced a new taskforce will investigate the matter but development at Barangaroo must be carried out in sync with the delivery of transport improvements. We don’t want the project held up but, more importantly, we don’t want to see a development that cripples the City simply to meet a pre‐determined timeline.
“While not recommending against the headland park as such, the review does note that there aren’t any legal barriers to the Government changing this aspect of the plan. Given the cost of the project we would urge the Government to take note of this and seriously reconsider the faux naturalistic design of the park in favour of something more useable, accessible and reasonably priced, that conserves a connection with the area’s rich maritime heritage.”
Clr McInerny concluded by saying that AfSD was grateful to Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and the Independent Reviewers for making sure the review had been carried out in an objective and transparent way.
“While it contains a number of big wins for the people of NSW, this review is only a guide to how the development should proceed. AfSD will be closely following the project as it progresses to make sure all the positive recommendations put forward by the Independent Reviewers are acted upon in the spirit in hich they were intended,” he said.
The Land and Environment Court has found former NSW Planning Minister Tony Kelly “feared defeat” when he made an 11th hour intervention to effectively shut down a legal case over the controversial Barangaroo development and has ordered the former Planning Minister to pay costs.
Justice Biscoe of the Land and Environment Court today ruled that the former Planning Minister’s behaviour “meets the description of unreasonable conduct” in the court’s judgment on costs.
In an unusual step, the court ordered the former Planning Minister Mr Kelly to pay 75 per cent of the court costs for Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) on an indemnity basis.
A Commission of Inquiry into Barangaroo is the first test of the new government’s resolve to rid NSW of the toxic legacy of Part 3A planning laws and ensure the people of NSW get a Barangaroo they can be proud of, Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) said today.
“Part 3A was abused by the former NSW Labor Government to discard the winning design for Barangaroo and allow Lend Lease to draw up plans to effectively sub-divide Sydney Harbour, over-develop the shoreline and avoid laws to properly deal with contamination,” says AfSD spokesperson Councillor John McInerney.
“While we welcome the commitment to throw Part 3A on the scrapheap as one of the Premier’s first 100 days promises, the risks associated with Barangaroo proceeding any further mean a commitment to a Commission of Inquiry into Barangaroo is urgently needed,” says Clr McInerney.
An inquiry into the controversial Barangaroo development would be the first test of an incoming Liberal Government’s promise to establish an independent planning commission, Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) said today.
The NSW Labor Government used the ‘hated’ Part 3A state significant planning laws to discard the winning design for Barangaroo and allow Lend Lease to draw up plans to effectively sub-divide Sydney Harbour, over develop the shoreline and avoid laws to properly deal with contamination.
AfSD spokesperson and Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor, Marcelle Hoff called on an incoming Liberal Government to commit to a Commission of Inquiry into Barangaroo to avoid inheriting the toxic legacy of Labor’s decisions over the controversial development.
“What gets built at Barangaroo will forever alter Sydney’s skyline and the shores of Sydney Harbour. An independent planning commission must make Barangaroo its first priority as bad development will only damage Sydney’s reputation as a beautiful harbour city.”
The erosion of laws to protect communities in NSW from over development is the focus of a powerful documentary ‘State of Siege’, screening on Wednesday night at the Wesley Centre in Sydney’s CBD.
Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) is holding the special screening of the documentary as a pre-election reminder of the damaging impact of the Labor Government’s Part 3A ‘state significant’ development laws.
The screening will be on Wednesday 23rd of March at the Wesley Mission Centre, 220 Pitt street Sydney. Speakers from 6:30pm, documentary screening from 7pm.
Dennis Grosvenor’s groundbreaking documentary investigating political corruption and the relationship between developers and politicians casts a light on the erosion of legislation that has protected neighbourhoods from excessive development for three decades.
The Minister for Planning Tony Kelly has today used ministerial powers to override legal process and legitimate community concerns about contamination at the site of the Barangaroo development.
Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD) has been awaiting the judge’s decision on a recent court case – testing whether the Planning Minister should have paid greater attention to detail with regard to laws regulating development on contaminated land.
“Effectively what has occurred today is that Mr. Kelly has changed the planning law retrospectively to absolve himself of a possible adverse finding that he had not done enough to prevent contamination leaching into Sydney Harbour,” said AfSD spokesperson Cr Marcelle Hoff, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney.
“The court case has concluded in the Land and Environment Court, and now, while we are waiting on the judge’s decision, the government has gone and “made amendments” to State Environmental Planning Policy – Remediation of Land (SEPP 55); the exact point of law that we had taken the government to court on.
Community, environment, local government and business groups will target local candidates, the Premier and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell in the lead up to the state election as part of a campaign to force a review of the controversial Barangaroo development in Sydney’s CBD.
Legal action over contamination issues at Barangaroo got underway today, while members of the new Hands Off Our Harbour campaign and Australians for Sustainable Development alliance rallied outside the Land and Environment Court.
Australians for Sustainable Development has taken Lend Lease and the Minister for Planning to court over contamination issues at the site, questioning whether there were enough details in Lend Lease’s remediation plans for the Minister to be confident that the site would be cleaned up effectively when he approved the development and excavation works at the site.
“Investigations by the Environment Protection Authority have raised serious concerns that the toxic materials from an old gas works at the Barangaroo site could present a significant risk to human health and the marine environment of Sydney Harbour if not cleaned up properly,” Kirsty Ruddock, principal solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office said.