The NSW planning minister who allowed his department to intervene to accommodate the wishes of West Byron developers has told parliament he has no role in determining the development.
Anthony Roberts MP (Liberal) responded to local Greens MP Tamara Smith in parliament on March 7 over whether he would ‘act on the concerns’ of the community and, ‘the negative impacts raised about the social, environmental and economic harm of such a mega-development to iconic Byron Bay.’
He replied that as the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) is the determining authority for this application, he had ‘no role’.
This is despite his planning department forcing the locally elected council to change its development control plan (DCP) to allow the controversial project to proceed.
He then went on to say, ‘As part of the council’s assessment, it is required to address the concerns raised in public submissions.’
‘Prior to making its determination, the panel will hold a public meeting to ensure that the community’s concerns are heard. The panel is required to provide written reasons for its determination’.
Mr Roberts said the site was ‘first identified by the council in 1993 under the former Labor government.’
‘In 2009, the site was proposed by Labor as a state significant project. The project has been around for a long time… I know there is much community concern around this development.
‘I have been advised by the parliamentary secretary for the north coast, Ben Franklin, that he has heard from many locals who also have expressed many reservations.’
Mr Roberts then continued with cheap political point scoring against Labor’s Asren Pugh, who has nominated to run in the seat of Ballina for the 2019 NSW state election. Roberts claims Pugh is on record as saying that ‘Labor has never supported the development.’ Additionally Mr Roberts defended his reasoning to not intervene to stop the project owing to Labor’s history with intervening on planning matters in the years that disgraced and jailed Eddie Obeid was in office.
The ‘locals’ who are pushing for mass urbanisation of Byron Bay – and have yet to explain how their development will not further choke the already clogged Ewingsdale Road – are Tony Smith, Alan Heathcote, Peter Croke, David O’Connor, Garry McDonald, Warren Simmons and non-local Kevin Rogers.
Two DAs for a 108-hectare housing/commercial estate opposite the Arts & Industry Estate on Ewingsdale Road close March 29.
Submissions on the ‘locals’ DA 10.2017.661.1 and on the re-exhibited QLD-based Villaworld DA 10.2017.201.1 should also be clearly marked with the DA number and can be sent to [email protected]