PROTEST SLAMS LOT 490 TENDER PROCESS
By ED SOUTHORN
TWEED Byron Aboriginal Land Council boss Russell Logan has accused the state government of giving favourable consideration to major developers he claims are donors to the Labor Party.
Mr Logan made his accusations in a letter to Premier Morris Iemma, Lands Minister Tony Kelly and Tweed MP Neville Newell, slamming the public consultation process for exploitation of one of the last remaining coastal land sites on the Tweed.
The letter points out a "number of interested groups" are planning a submission to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the Lot 490 tendering process.
Mr Logan said yesterday none of the politicians had responded to his letter, sent eight weeks ago.
He said only one prospective tenderer for the planned eco resort on the Lot 490 crown land at South Kingscliff ? a local Kingscliff group ? approached the lands council when preparing its development proposal.
Mr Logan argues this contravenes the spirit and intention of state government management plan guidelines for the tendering process requiring consultation with traditional owners of the land.
The Daily News believes two major, nationally-known development companies have made the final shortlist for the Lot 490 tender, while the local Kingscliff group has been cut from the shortlist.
Mr Logan said the Kingscliff tenderer had offered genuine Aboriginal involvement, with ongoing employment.
He said it now appeared that consultation with the Aboriginal community would occur only after the successful tenderer had been decided, expected by mid-year.
"That is tokenistic consultation, it feels like nothing has changed for Aboriginal people in over 200 years," Mr Logan said.
His letter to the Premier, copied to Mr Kelly and Mr Newell, claims the management plan guidelines for community consultation for Lot 490 were misinterpreted and exploited by Lands Department officials.
"This interpretation has disadvantaged local developers and provided a clear pathway for multi-national developers to progress through tender without complying with the (management plan)," the letter says.
"One of these local developers had previously been told by the Lands Department that they were the only tender that fully complied.
"The multi-national companies in question are major donors to the ALP and on face value the process as it stands could be seen as political preference to favour donors."