$50,000 donation raises concern

A REVELATION that the developer of the proposed Cobaki Lakes and Kings Forest townships donated more than $50,000 to the state ALP has sparked concern about how the development applications will be treated.

NSW Greens Party politician Lee Rhiannon has called on state planning minister Kristina Keneally to explain how she will “handle this perceived conflict of interest problem” in the wake of “serious concerns about the scale and impact of these developments” from the Tweed community.

“Planning Minister Kristina Keneally must reassure the Tweed community that her decision on the Cobaki and Kings Forest developments will not be influenced by the $53,180 her party has accepted in donations from the devel- oper, Leda Holdings,” said Ms Rhiannon.

“Though the environmental stakes are high, the Planning Minister will assess the merit of these developments and grant approval based on flimsy concept plans sketched by the developer.”

But a spokesman for Ms Keneally yesterday said there was “no relationship whatso- ever between organisations deciding to make donations and the planning decisions of the minister”.

He said Ms Keneally's decisions were “based on the advice and recommendations of the Department of Planning, the merits of the application which is brought before her, and the views of the public on the proposal”.

He said the Labor Party had been transparent in declaring the donations.

He also rejected claims that plans submitted by Leda were flimsy, saying “detailed and comprehensive information about the proposals has been made available through the public exhibition process.”

Ms Rhiannon said the most recent donation which the Labor Party had disclosed was a $2200 ticket to a party fund- raiser in September.

She added: “For all we know Leda has been dining with Labor Ministers during the development assessment process.”

Ms Rhiannon said a preliminary assessment report for the Cobaki Lakes proposal was a mere four pages in length with two maps.

“It outlines that the key issue of the proposal is an increase in permissible building height above three storeys, but gives no further detail of how this will be addressed.”

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