Bias claim as builder seeks truth on Tralee
Residential developer Village Building Company is trying to uncover more documents which it believes show a NSW planning review agency's decision on the controversial Tralee project proposal south of Queanbeyan had an aviation bias.
Village says the Planning Assessment Commission's advice was tainted because it didn't disclose 37 submissions from associates of the Canberra Airport, which opposes the project.
The NSW Information Commissioner told Village last month PAC had not properly explained why it refused access to many of the documents Village sought under freedom of information.
Village spokesman Ken Ineson said Village would continue to pursue all documents.
On Village's website, the company's chief executive Bob Winnel has attacked the federal and NSW governments over their handling of Tralee's planning assessment.
He says as well as failing to disclose submissions, PAC could have misled the NSW Planning Minister over the issue.
Mr Winnel said PAC had recommended delaying a decision on Tralee pending the outcome of studies by the federal Department of Transport, but in so doing acted beyond its brief which was to recommend if Tralee had been dealt with under existing policy and law.
Mr Winnel accused the federal minister and his department of pursuing a secretive and illicit process to rule out Tralee.
He said aviation interests led the National Airport Safeguard Advisory Group's work, but there was no representation from the housing and development sectors.
''The impact of the work of this committee could dramatically restrict the development of greenfield sites and dramatically inhibit new housing through re-development in every capital city in Australia,'' Mr Winnel said.
Mr Winnel's comments are in a performance update on the eve of Village's annual general meeting last November.
The NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard and federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese declined yesterday to respond to Village's complaints.
Until recently the NSW government has delayed a decision on Tralee citing federal government studies on the impact of such a decision.
But Mr Albanese's office said yesterday the decision now rested with the NSW government.
Speculation on NSW giving Tralee the go-ahead was raised in the Sydney media on Saturday.
The federal government is critical of such an outcome, saying on one hand the state government wants Canberra to be an overflow airport for Sydney, on the other it is poised to allow homes under flight paths near Canberra.
Mr Hazzard said there was no decision yet on Tralee.
Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said six separate independent bodies had assessed the Tralee project and all said that it should not occur.