Thursday, 15 October 2020

A close relationship between property developers and politicians is never a good idea


Given that the NSW Independent Commission is again investigating political corruption in relation to property development, it is worth recalling this excerpt from The Monthly on 13 October 2020:

What’s amazing is how little property developers give politicians when politicians are so incredibly generous to developers, gifting them some $11 billion a year.

I’ve written that before in another place, but in light of Monday’s explosive NSW ICAC hearings and the $30 million the federal government paid for land worth $3 million near Sydney’s new airport, it is absolutely worth writing again.

Our state and local governments are captives of Australia’s biggest honeypot, a honeypot of their own creation that inevitably attracts flies.

And while maintaining this fundamentally inequitable and corruption-prone system, gifting massive windfall profits to mates and wise guys, they are robbing their constituents of income…….

At stake are the billions of dollars our local councils and state governments create out of thin air when they rezone land.

Dr Murray provides examples:

A well-situated industrial site in Sydney’s inner west was bought for $8.5 million, rezoned high-density residential, then sold again for $48.5 million. The 470 per cent windfall was the result of a government decision: Rezoning.

Not only are these windfalls enormous, they can add to the cost of infrastructure.

An industrial site in Altona North in Melbourne was bought by a developer for $8.7 million, rezoned for “comprehensive development” and then compulsorily acquired by the Victorian government for the West Gate Tunnel project for $22.5 million.

The Altona North rezoning added $14 million to the cost of the tunnel.”

The federal government’s $30 million Badgerys Creek scandal is even more bizarre. So-far anonymous bureaucrats agreed to value the parcel of land on the wild assumption of its “highest and best use” – not the cow paddock that it actually is and will remain for decades.

The extremely hypothetical zoning not only gave Liberal Party donors Tony and Ron Perich an amazing profit, the government has subsequently leased the land back to them with the rent calculated on the basis that the block is only worth $1 million……

A key part of the ICAC’s investigation of dodgy former MP Daryl Maguire concerns his attempts to have land near the Western Sydney airport rezoned…...

The ICAC public hearings of 14 and 15 October 2020 are to question witness Daryl Maguire

During the Wednesday 14 October hearing, Mr. Maguire admitted that:

He understood the Ministerial Code of Conduct as it related to his actions as a member of the NSW Parliament and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier for Rural and Regional Affairs and later as Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections, Emergency Services, Veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC;

He knew that the cash for visas scheme was not a legitimate scheme and he received payments for assisting with this scheme via a company he effectively ran;

He sought a commission/consultancy fee with regard to a potential property development deal in Gladesville in 2014; and

As chair of the New South Wales Parliament Asia Pacific Friendship Group he used his position to further his own interests and the commercial interests of a Chinese organisation.

[See transcripts at &]

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