NSW shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord has launched a blistering attack on Tweed Shire Coalition councillors in parliament, blaming ‘gravy stained property developers and real estate agents’ for seeking to increase height limits at Kingscliff.
Mr Secord highlighted the council’s move to increase existing height limits in the town and offer support for a community-based campaign to retain limits to ‘protect the Tweed from greedy property developers.’
He was speaking on Labor’s Local Government Amendment (Disqualification from Civic Office) Bill 2017 yesterday (May 25).
The bill was intended to ban property developers and real estate agents from standing in the September local government elections but was defeated by a single vote, 19 to 18.
Mr Secord lauded efforts by Tweed Shire councillors Ron Cooper (Independent) and Reece Byrnes (Labor), who are opposing moves by the Liberals and Nationals to remove the height limits at Kingscliff.
But he then launched into a scathing attack on Liberal-endorsed Tweed Shire Councillor James Owen for his comments in the Tweed Daily News, where he endorsed a removal of height limits.
‘The New South Wales Liberals and their junior Coalition partners, The Nationals, must choose to say no to the gravy stained property developers and real estate agents who are lurking at the local government level in the Liberal and Nationals parties. It is known that the Liberals and Nationals are particularly active in these circles,’ Mr Secord said.
‘James Owen is the first Liberal-endorsed councillor on Tweed Shire Council. Along with his Nationals party cronies he is already fighting the restriction of height limits in key suburbs.
‘On 29 March he was reported in the Tweed Daily News as opposing a three-storey height limit in Kingscliff. He appeared in a photograph with the headline “Kingscliff draft heights could be too small”.’
Cr Owen has supported moves to increase heights of residential buildings in the seaside village from the existing 12.2 metres and businesses to 13.6 metres.
Cr Owen told the publication, ‘I can’t support it because it is going to mean that my children will not have the future I’d envisaged for them in Kingscliff.’
But Mr Secord said the Liberals and Nationals had ‘given it all away… in a single sentence.’
‘Their vision for Kingscliff is an overdevelopment nightmare—housing developments in Kingscliff so large that the beach is in shade.’
He said he backed councillors Cooper and Byrnes as well as federal Labor Richmond MP Justine Elliot, ‘who are all alarmed by the moves to increase the height limit at Kingscliff in the Tweed.’
‘I join them in speaking out against moves to overdevelop Kingscliff. We pledge to fight moves to increase the development height limits at Kingscliff. The last thing we want to see is beautiful Kingscliff, with its unique quality of life and wonderful village atmosphere, replaced by Gold Coast skyscrapers,’ Mr Secord told parliament.
* Cr Owen describes his occupation on LinkedIn as ‘Business Development, Communications and Engagement Specialist’. He has previously worked as a ministerial adviser at a state level and has run ‘major events and projects, raising millions of for charities in the UK and Australia’. There is no mention on his profile of any connection to the real estate industry.