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In Parliament


Corkman Hotel Site - Questions without notice and ministers statements

   Thursday, 6 June 2019
Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:06:13): My question is to the Minister for Planning. Why has the minister cut a deal with the dodgy and rogue developers who unlawfully wrecked the Corkman hotel—a deal that will enable them to develop the site and make millions in profits by breaking the law despite misleading this house that the Corkman would be rebuilt?

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:10:57): In 2016 lobbyist turned member for Burwood said about his clients, the Corkman cowboys: … they made a mistake, they are sorry, and they are going to make it right. Heritage consultants will be engaged in the next few weeks to commence the process of rebuilding. Why have these developers received a sweetheart deal from this minister—developers who are represented by the now member for Burwood, who is a close personal friend, factional ally and fundraising chair to the Minister for Planning? Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Warrandyte and the member for Mordialloc can leave the chamber for the period of 1 hour. I have warned members to cease shouting across the chamber.

Members for Warrandyte and Mordialloc withdrew from chamber.

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:15:13): My question is to the Minister for Planning. Why won’t the Minister for Planning use section 172 of the Planning and Environment Act, as suggested by Dr Kate Shaw of the University of Melbourne, to compulsorily acquire the site at 156–160 Leicester Street, Carlton, at its present undeveloped value and develop the site into public housing, ensuring the developers who broke the law do not profit from their unlawful activity?

T SMITH (Kew) (11:17:42): The Minister for Planning has wideranging powers to ensure these dodgy developers cannot profit from their outrageous behaviour. At the very least, why didn’t the minister place mandatory controls over the site to ensure the developers cannot build more than one storey?

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:17:57): My question is to the Minister for Planning. Yesterday in question time the minister said about the Corkman hotel demolition: The reality of this is that there are planning controls over the site now. These were incorporated into the South Carlton planning controls for the area. The minister failed to inform the house that he introduced planning controls on 18 October 2018 which allow for a 40-metre or 10 to 12-storey development on the site. Why did the minister change the rules to favour these cowboy developers less than two weeks before the government went into caretaker mode?

Members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Gembrook! The Leader of the Opposition!

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:19:22): Why didn’t the Minister for Planning make his interim controls, which required the full restoration and reconstruction of the Corkman hotel, permanent?

Mr T SMITH (Kew) (11:22:42): My question is to the Minister for Planning. The gas and fuel land on Nepean Highway, Highett, is currently publicly owned, but the minister has decided to sell off this land for nine-storey residential towers. The minister ignored the wishes of the local community, who want this land preserved for community use, so that the government could prop up the budget bottom line by more than $500 million. Why is Labor’s budget bottom line more important than the future sporting and recreational needs of this local community?