Letter to Premier re Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Amendment (Development Assessment) Bill 2016 and Premier’s response of 27 June
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Saving Moore Park Inc. Letter to the Premier - 6 June 2016
6 June 2016
The Hon. Mike Baird MP
Premier of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2000
I am writing on behalf of our Association to seek your support and the support of your Government for the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Amendment (Development Assessment) Bill 2016, introduced recently in Parliament by the Member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich.
Under its Act, any development on land controlled by the SCG Trust is exempt from the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) and the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW). It is my understanding that the SCSG Trust is the only State Government authority in NSW that has a blanket exemption of this kind. This means there is no opportunity for anyone to find out details of any development planned on SCG land, much less express views on it.
A case in point is the Australian Rugby Development Centre, construction of which began this week on the northern end of the SCG Members’ Car Park. Other than a general description provided to members, details of what this building will involve have not been released publicly.
I stress that we are not necessarily opposed to the ARDC development. We simply don’t know what it involves, other than in the most general terms.
We strongly believe that transparency by Government and its agencies is important in ensuring outcomes which balance the objectives of proposed developments with their impacts on the environment and on local communities. It is my understanding that this is a principle you also personally believe is important.
The SCG Act was amended by the then Labor Government in 1985 to exempt construction of the Sydney Football Stadium from the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) and the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW). At the time, this was opposed by the Liberal Party.
While we don’t believe the SCSG Trust should ever have been exempt, this was at a time when the community placed far less emphasis on environmental issues. The world has moved on in 31 years. Issues such as traffic, public transport and parking and environmental considerations generally are today regarded as integral to the quality of life in increasingly densely populated urban areas.
We therefore believe it is completely inappropriate for this exemption to be perpetuated. Even Barangaroo is subject to more stringent environmental considerations than the SCSG Trust.
We respectfully request, therefore, that the Government endorse Alex Greenwich’s Bill and support its passage through the Parliament. Having opposed the exemption when it was first granted, it would be extraordinary if the Coalition Government now sought to perpetuate it, and in so doing, continue to give the SCSG Trust powers that far exceed those of other Government authorities in New South Wales.
Our Association now has nearly 3,000 supporters, all of whom care deeply about Moore Park and the surrounding area. We do not believe that any development adjacent to the Park should be signed off by a Minister without any public environmental assessment process.
The Government is currently under siege on many fronts. Is this a battle it really needs to have?
I have written to the Attorney-General, the Minister for Planning, the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Sport in similar terms.
Saving Moore Park Inc.