Labor into pockets of developers

THE Australian Labor Party is under fire for soliciting donations from the very developers who funded the much-criticised Tweed Directions election campaign for sacked Tweed councillors.

Former mayor Warren Polglase says letters have been sent to major local developers seeking donations of up to $100,000 to guarantee them lunch with the NSW Premier and another lunch with a minister of their choice.

And he claims the fund-raising campaign has been conducted secretly through the private, targetted letters to the developers.

Mr Polglase said the letters were sent to "three or four developers on the Tweed", but only one was talking about it and did not want to be publicly identified.

He released a copy of one of the letters signed by NSW Labor general secretary Mark Arbib but with the addressee blacked out.

The letter dated May 20 offered a "personal invitation" to the organisation of the person addressed to "become part of business dialogue" described as "an initiative by NSW Labor to facilitate relationships between the business community and the oldest political party in Australia".

An enclosed brochure detailed four levels of membership, starting with 'Foundation Partner' costing $100,000 plus GST which entitles the members to access to Labor leaders including a "private boardroom lunch for 10" with the Premier.

"They wouldn't be talking about where is the best fish and chips shop or about wine," said Mr Polglase.

Mr Polglase and pro-development council colleagues were criticised by the recent Daly Inquiry into Tweed Shire Council - and sacked.

Prof Maurice Daly in his report found majority councillors had promoted property development and tourism after receiving substantial funds from businesses related to the property industry.

Mr Polglase said the public should be aware the ALP was soliciting donations directly from the same developers.

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