The Planning Minister also changed state planning requirements this week to circumvent standard processes for cleaning up contaminated land at Barangaroo. The new Government after 26 March must urgently review decisions relating to this development.
The Minister's change removes requirements that Council be notified about remediation work and removes the need to comply with guidelines made under the Contaminated Land Management Act.
The City's independent review of the remediation process found that there were already insufficient safeguards in place. The Minister's action further undermines accountability and transparency in order to rush this significant project.
The State Government took control of Barangaroo under Part 3A and this Minister has repeatedly blocked City oversight of this massive development. In January he seized control of council roads around Barangaroo, removing us from decisions about crucial clean-up of contamination.
I talked with Millers Point residents this week who are worried about the development. Local residents and the childcare centre adjacent to the site need full transparency and accountability if they are to be confidence that they will not face airborne vapours and dust during remediation.
There is no justification for putting development ahead of the safety, heath and security of nearby residents and the community.
The amended State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) No 55-Remediation of Land now no longer applies to two specific Barangaroo development proposals he approved last November: for bulk excavation and basement car park, and for the headland park and northern cove early works.
In its submissions on these developments, Council told the State Government that the excavation was not acceptable and should be refused; and that the application for the Headland Park Early Works should be significantly amended.
I resigned from the Board of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority because of my serious concerns about the lack of transparency; failure to inform and involve the community; and rushed process. A project of this scale and complexity demands a considered, careful and open process.
Without full transparency and accountability the public cannot be confident that there will be no risk of contamination leaking during excavation and entering the harbour, or affecting nearby residents.