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An "Unfortunate" Bid to Corrupt Victoria's Planning and Heritage Laws ?

"The Windsor Hotel redevelopment scandal will go down in history as a bid to corrupt Victoria's Planning and Heritage laws.

What is not so clear yet, however, is whether the Windsor scandal is an isolated incident linked to a 'Rogue Trader' in the State Government's Media Unit, or whether it is part of a wider conspiracy designed to help undermine the rule of law, and the regulation of property developers in Victoria," says Brian Walsh, leader of the Kew Cottages Coalition in Victoria.

A 'must read' from Kew Cottages Coalition leader, Brian Walsh

The Windsor Hotel redevelopment scandal will go down in history as a bid to corrupt Victoria's Planning and Heritage laws.

What is not so clear yet, however, is whether the Windsor scandal is an isolated incident linked to a 'Rogue Trader' in the State Government's Media Unit, or whether it is part of a wider conspiracy designed to help undermine the rule of law, and the regulation of property developers in Victoria.

Ombudsman's Inquiry into Windsor Hotel Affair

As the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Windsor Hotel affair now waits for the Ombudsman to complete his own investigation, the Inquiry will find the Ombudsman's recent report on the Probity of the Kew Cottages and St Kilda Triangle developments helpful in addressing the wider question, and Government decision making involved.

For example, the Ombudsman records that early in the Kew development process the then Executive Director Heritage Victoria, Mr. Ray Tonkin, recalled feeling some pressure from the Government owner (DHS) to advise them informally on the Heritage status of Kew Cottages, rather than to go through the public consultation and State Heritage nomination process required by the Victorian Heritage Act.

The Ombudsman concludes that,

"the heritage issues led to uncertainty, considerable delays and significant additional costs for all associated with the project. It is unfortunate that a nomination was not made by the Department of Human Services (DHS) at the beginning of the exercise.." (295)

and that

"in my view it was unfortunate that the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, provided informal advice on the site early in the project." (297)

The Kew Cottages Coalition subsequently successfully nominated the site for State Heritage listing. The nomination ensured that public consultation eventually took place.

Mr. Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition, today said that:

"What the Ombudsman has now revealed doesn't look like a simple bureaucratic stuff up. It looks too well planned for that. It looks to me more like the Windsor affair, more like an orchestrated bid by someone in authority to corrupt the Planning and Heritage laws."

"Mr. Tonkin, himself, may have made an honest mistake under pressure, but as with the Windsor Hotel affair, it beggars belief that all of those concerned did not know what was at stake here."

"I hope that the Ombudsman will help the Inquiry to unravel the details of the Windsor scandal," Mr. Wash said, "and I hope the Parliament will get to the bottom of any attempt to corrupt Victoria's Planning and Heritage laws."


Kew Cottages Coalition was formed in 2003 to defend public ownership of public land containing building and plant for the care of people with developmental problems. This public estate, overlooking sweeping views of parkland and the Yarra River all the way to the city of Melbourne, has since been sold-off by the government to private development, without democratic consultation.
For details on KCC Media Releases please contact:

Brian Walsh,
President,
Kew Cottages Coalition
PO Box 2317
KEW
Victoria 3101
Australia

Reg # A0044698H

M: 0414 979 300
E: admin@kew.org.au

www.kew.org.au

Release Date: 20100723