Back to News page

Save Our Sydney Suburbs (NSW) Inc.
News Release November 2005

Corruption

Hi SOS Members

The Daily Telegraph article on the Cabinet leak about the Lane Cove Tunnel stacks is evidence of a deeper malaise. The article can be seen on http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,20281,17132396-5001021,00.html and the words are reproduced below in case you have any difficulty in viewing it on the internet. One wonders whether, in addition to location, the refusal by the Government to filter the exhaust fumes was a factor in the argument. This affair ties in with the cosy relationship the Department of Planning has with developers.

There is a formalised inappropriate relationship between bureaucrats in the Department of Planning and developers. The Planning Minister's Residential Advisory Committee consists of developers and bureaucrats and is no direct community representation. Residential strategies that are submitted by Councils to increase population densities are given to the developers to assess. They report back on such aspects as the viability of the strategy for developers. These same developers subsequently can profit from the resulting rezonings in that municipality. Talk about a conflict of interest! The destruction of our Australian way of life is the result.
Another example of inappropriate connections is the Orange Grove affair.

It would be good if SOS members would contact the media on this broad issue, using this latest incident as the pretext.


Daily Telegraph Article:

Tunnel corruption bombshell

By ANNA PATTY and SIMON BENSON

November 04, 2005

SECRET Cabinet documents containing the State Government's negotiating position on the Cross City Tunnel were leaked to the tollway consortium before the contract was signed. The information gave the company a tactical advantage that left taxpayers "compromised" and exposed to a multimillion-dollar blowout in the tunnel. The explosive allegations – being referred today to the ICAC – are revealed in a letter from then roads minister Carl Scully to planning minister Craig Knowles in December 2003.

In the letter, Mr Scully – who was furious about the leak at the time – told Mr Knowles he was concerned someone had leaked details of a Cabinet briefing on the costs of relocating ventilation stacks to the CrossCity Motorway Pty Ltd. Without naming the suspected source, he said the leak compromised the Government's ability to protect taxpayers from a further $12 million blowout in costs. At the time, the RTA was negotiating with the company over the costs of relocating ventilation stacks. The Cabinet meeting was convened to establish the Government's position on the issue and cost options.

It has been confirmed that Mr Knowles had shown the minutes to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which was asked to pay for the relocation – estimated at $12 million.

How the company later came into possession of the minutes is still to be revealed.

The letter from Mr Scully to Mr Knowles dated December 3, 2003 stated: "I must record my disappointment and concern at the fact that extracts from the draft Cabinet Minute on this issue have been sighted by members of the CrossCity Motorway Consortium (means) the Government's ability to secure an outcome which best protects the interests of the NSW taxpayers may have been compromised."

Mr Knowles' chief of staff at the time of the alleged leak, Paul Levins, is now head of corporate affairs for Bilfinger Berger – a 30 per cent shareholder in the tunnel and parent of Baulderstone Hornibrook. "We reject completely any suggestion that the company would have acted improperly," he said last night.

The letter was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday as part of the 30,000 pages of tunnel documents released by the Government.

Opposition roads spokesman Andrew Stoner will this morning ask ICAC to investigate. "Corrupt conduct may have been committed by either a minister or their senior staff under Section 8 of the ICAC Act," Mr Stoner wrote in a letter to ICAC.

Last night Mr Scully said he did not wish to comment. Mr Knowles could not be contacted.


Tony Recsei

President, Save Our Suburbs

Back to News page