House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Constituency Statements

Little Bay

10:44 am

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

The fight to save and protect Little Bay from overdevelopment is back on. On 17 February, it was revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald that Meriton is trying for a third time to get approval from the New South Wales Liberal government to develop at Little Bay cove. They've been knocked back twice for this development, both by the council and by a planning panel, and they've been knocked back because it's simply overdevelopment. What they are proposing for the site cannot be catered for with limited infrastructure and public transport. But, no, Meriton won't accept that. They're now trying to bypass the council and the planning panel using a little-known state-assessed planning proposals pathway that enables developers to nominate projects for rezoning approval by the New South Wales government.

The most disgraceful thing about this is that it's a secretive process. The community is not informed of who the developer is that's proposing it. Council representatives have been told that they have to sign confidentiality deeds to view the documents associated with this proposal. That is disgraceful. The community deserves to know who the developer is for this proposal and what they are proposing. Meriton and the New South Wales government should stop trying to bend the rules. There is a long-established master plan for this site that has community support and allows development to five storeys. It is reasonable and within the character. Every other developer has had to develop to those guidelines, and so should Meriton. Seventeen storeys, as proposed by Meriton in their last proposal, is overdevelopment. There is inadequate infrastructure, particularly public transport, to cater for that increased number of residents.

I want to congratulate the Save Little Bay group, which recently uncovered through FOI a letter sent by the CEO of Meriton, Harry Triguboff, on 30 June 2022. It contains some remarkable findings. It says:

For many years we are trying to develop Little Bay. A few years ago I was told by the Planning Department that a state lead precinct will be made for the whole area, the prison, the housing commission and me.

It goes on to say:

I consider this to be a fair proposition and I am waiting for your reply. For you to prepare the plan you don't need to have another site for the prison, buses or trains. But, if you will prepare them, we can all start moving. You need the money and we need the money too.

It is unbelievable. This guy is a billionaire, and he says that they need the money. It is pure greed. Our community should not be ridden roughshod over by the New South Wales government and by Meriton. This proposal should be rejected because it is overdevelopment.