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Tuesday, 26 August 1980
Page: 754

Mr BIRNEY (Phillip) - My electorate of Phillip is the smallest electorate in Australia yet has a higher density of population than any other electorate in the Commonwealth. It is for this reason that open space is naturally at a premium, and all existing open space must be preserved for posterity, for our children and for their children's children, which is their birthright. With this in mind, I draw the attention of the House to the recent despicable, high-handed and totalitarian action by the New South Wales Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr Bedford, when he intervened to the detriment of all local residents and issued an interim development order over an idyllic area of open space in Randwick known as Glebe Gully.

The battleground is a four-hectare area nestled between high rise flats and once-stately mansions in densely populated Randwick. The Randwick

Council, to its everlasting credit, refused development applications for the area. Its opposition was led by the Mayor of Randwick, Alderman Ken Finn, and ably supported by the other aldermen, including Alderman Bill Newman, Alderman Harry Price, Alderman Jack Dillon and Alderman Munro who, I might add, are five of the finest aldermen ever to represent the people of the municipality.

The matter was eventually aired in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and its decision supported the Council's stand. One could have been excused for believing that this was the end of the matter. On 1 November last year, a delegation was received by the then New South Wales Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr Landa who told the delegation that all parties had to abide by the Supreme Court decision on the matter and that, further, he would not interfere with that decision. I believe Bedford's decision was a stab in the back to the Randwick Council and to not only immediate residents but also all residents of the eastern suburbs. His decision is clearly an exercise in rodeo-style politics whereby the wishes of the people have been trampled in the dust.

The whole operation smells to high heaven. It permits the developers to build 94 units and 13 single dwellings on the gully land. Labor politicians will shortly be taught a lesson that they will never forget, namely, that they are the servants of the people and not their masters. The whole operation smacks of Robin Hood working in reverse, namely, talking from the poor to give to wealthy developers. The only other open space of comparable size in the immediate vicinity is Waverley cemetery. A recent statement issued from the Minister's office said:

Randwick Council didn't seem to want to be interested in it. We looked to it for some kind of guidance of what the local people wanted but it wasn't forthcoming.

That statement is untrue and not in accordance with the established facts whereby the Randwick Council, led by the good men whom I have mentioned, stood their ground and have been most vocal in telling this Minister exactly what the people wanted. He has snubbed invitations to inspect the area and to speak to local residents, and his whole handling of the matter is so suspect that he should resign forthwith. Earthmoving equipment had even started bulldozing operations in the gully earlier this month only hours before a delegation of residents had failed to persuade the Minister to halt the development. The buildings which eventually rise on this wonderful area of peace and tranquillity will forever bear testament to the way the New South Wales Government takes notice of the wishes of the people. The whole operation is a scandal of the highest magnitude.

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