The ACT Greens have called for further reforms to Canberra's electoral laws, after a Sunday Canberra Times investigation unearthed almost $225,000 of developer donations to the government over the past five years.
From 2009 to 2014, often close to or during approvals and appeals processes or sometimes while working directly with businesses, ACT Labor received $223,292 from local and interstate developers
The donations and receipts were often in the form of gifts of money or fundraiser tickets.
ACT Labor acting branch secretary Matt Byrne said Canberra had strong donation laws already and an independent planning process separate from any potential political interference.
ACT Greens convener Sophie Trevitt said the party was "concerned" about the new revelations and would consider introducing a range of measures to crack down on developer donations to government.
Many of Canberra's largest developers have donated to the ACT government over the past five years, including CIC Australia, Canberra Airport Group and the Molonglo Group.
A number of donations made to ACT Labor have been made at times close to ongoing approvals processes, appeals processes or while the government has been working hand-in-hand with a business on a development.
The Molonglo Group, which developed the award-winning New Acton precinct, donated $25,778.99 to the government between 2009 and 2014. It was the single largest developer donor in the ACT.
While the majority of the precinct was approved or constructed before 2009, the Nishi Building was approved only in 2010 after a lengthy process.
Rock Development, which donated $1800 to the ACT Labor government in 2011/2012, is also owned by the Efkarpidis family who partly run the Molonglo Group.
The Hindmarsh Group, which worked with the government on the multimillion-dollar Woden Green development, donated $12,364 to ACT Labor between 2009 and 2014.
In this time, Hindmarsh bought the government's 50 per cent share of the project for $14 million and submitted its application for the new Idalia building on the site.
"As part of the ACT business community, our management team participates in various business forums, briefings and other networking activities organised by the ACT government," a Hindmarsh spokesman said.
CIC Australia donated $23,570.01 to ACT Labor over the past five years while building the Canberra suburb of Crace, after working closely on Forde's development a few years earlier.
A number of developers donated to the Canberra Liberals as well over the past five years, with the opposition accruing $80,589 since 2009.
CIC Australia chief executive Col Alexander said his company donated to both sides of politics as a matter of course.
"We attend the odd very small dinner and we also attend dinners for the ACT government and the opposition," he said.
"We don't consider them donations, as they are fundamentally briefing dinners with, on many occasions, large groups of people."
Some businesses, including GEOCON, CIC Australia and the Molonglo Group, donated to both parties, while prominent developers Colliers International gave only to the Liberals.
Ms Trevitt said the community had a legitimate expectation that political representatives would make decisions free from conflicts of interest or undue influence.
"It is fundamentally important that when political parties accept donations they do so free from conflicts of interest, and in such a way that there is no perception of a conflict," she said.
"The ACT Greens are concerned by new information that the ALP has been accepting donations from developers who have approval or appeal processes in train with the government.
"We will be looking into developer donations as an area of potential reform."
Mr Byrne said developers had a basic right to participate in the democratic process, which included giving to political parties.
When questioned about why the government accepted money from developers awaiting government decisions, Mr Byrne said there was an independent planning process in the territory.
"The ACT has strong donation reporting laws and strong independent planning regulations which removes any possibility of political interference from the planning process," he said.
"This is why the ACT does not have the issues that NSW has had to deal with in the past few years."
The Molonglo Group was contacted for comment but failed to respond by deadline.
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