To our supporters
Can you help? As part of the development approval process GLALC has submitted a Draft Voluntary Planning Agreement. You can view it here
Public submissions can be made and they close this Friday March 1st. They can be made online at the above address.
Apologies for this late request however it would be very helpful if you could make the effort to send in a submission re this Draft VPA. WMAG’s submission can be seen below
Individual efforts rather than multiple identical copies make the most difference. You may choose to make wording changes to ours and rearrange it and / or leave some out or include ideas of your own to individualise your submission. Also try getting friends and relatives to make a submission too. Even something very short making only a few good brief points is most worthwhile.
Hope you can help in the short time available.
WMAG Submission Re West Menai Draft VPA
1. WMAG calls for an extension of time for submissions on this Draft VPA because the proponent, an Aboriginal Land Council is under investigation by the supervising body, NSWALC, and monitored by the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. This is the THIRD investigation of the GLALC in less than 12 months and there have been reports of operational and financial irregularities and asset mismanagement. A significant financial and contractual document such as this should not be entered into with GLALC unless it can be certain to operate according to all relevant rules and laws and there is absolute confidence in its integrity and viability and ability to deliver under the terms of the Draft VPA for the full 20 or more years life of the project, and afterwards with respect to environmental and other management programs.
2. WMAG has serious doubts about the ability of GLALC to deliver on its promises for such a large project over such a long time and about the likelihood of the whole project being completed. If the project remains incomplete or is scaled back for whatever reason it could leave huge financial holes which State and Local Governments will have to fill for such things as necessary infrastructure and services in and to a relatively inaccessible area. It could also leave isolated pockets of development with obvious ramifications for residents in those pockets.
3. Page 10 Clause 5.2 (iii) vaguely refers to payments being made ‘from time to time’. This needs to be tightened up to ‘within 30 days of completion of every fifth ( or tenth) lot sale’ or similar. With lot sales likely to be a minimum $400,000 average at 50% amount into the Proceeds Account this represents approximately $1M per 5 lots or $2M per 10 lots.
4. Page 26 Clause 3.1 (a) ii refers to an amount of $100,000 per year averaged for biodiversity management works. This amount is laughably inadequate for any serious works to effectively manage the effects of a whole new suburb of people , infrastructure and business activities plus continuing trail bike and other RV impacts on a 520 Ha conservation Area. $100,000 now goes nowhere near the amounts of money necessary to do a proper job of this work. What references and what advice was provided and by whom to come up with this amount? Is it based on the best available information about costs to manage a site of this size and type?
5. There seem to be no assurances about the exact nature of the road infrastructure that is to be provided. The developer could conceivably choose to provide lower cost low level bridges with a less direct route than the mooted high level bridges.
Are all necessary works to be decided by the developer or by RMS or in collaboration between the two? Is there any certainty that the road infrastructure will be constructed to meet the future traffic needs of the route as determined by RMS?
There needs to be appropriate clauses in the VPA clarifying these matters.
6. There are no detailed costings for the project and its component parts. The whole document is open ended with regard to any detail on the financial viability of the project. The proponent must be required to provide income and expenditure breakdown details with relatively accurate figures for the project’s predicted sales estimates and income estimates. Details of estimates of expenditure on a year by year basis are necessary for such a development project. This must be especially so for this proposal where the State is entering into a binding agreement with the developer and relying on it for providing significant infrastructure underpinning the attempt to create a viable new suburb.
7. P 33 Clause 3.1 states ‘’the Registered Proprietor must not intentionally carry out any act….etc’, however there is no following action, response, fine or punishment given or described should the proprietor fail to abide by this directive. There should be some appropriate deterrent consequence to support this prohibition. It is not considered that the issue of a ‘written notice to the registered proprietor…’ as described in Clause 6 p 36 ‘Non-Compliance constitutes a significant deterrent as it itself contains no enforcing response.
8. P33 Clause 3.3 concerns the review process for the biodiversity management plan. The Director- General of the DPI is the overseer of the plan implementation. It does not seem appropriate for a minister concerned mainly with developments to be sole overseer of a natural area conservation plan. There should also be involvement by the Minister for Conservation or some other authority with recognised expertise in this area and this should be specifically noted in the agreement.
9. With respect to p34 Clause 3.5 (a) there is no definition of the term ‘conservation purposes’. An appropriate definition must be included.
10. P35 Clause 3.6 (e) permits the proprietor to subdivide the land without reservation. For a proposed conservation area this is inappropriate. Subdivision of natural areas can only promote fragmentation and loss of natural values of such lands. Subdivision should be removed as a reservation and permitted only after assessment of effects on the Conservation Area by the Department of Conservation (or other such body with appropriate expertise and commitment to conservation) and their approval.
West Menai Action Group