The chair of Brisbane City Council’s planning committee failed to answer “no” when asked if there was a link between a developer’s donations to the Liberal National Party and the signing of an infrastructure agreement related to the proposed 1350 home development at The Gap.
Cllr Amanda Cooper was asked five times on ABC radio if there was a link between donations made by a developer and the signing of the infrastructure agreement.
Cllr Cooper, chair of the Neighbourhood Planning and Development Assessment Committee, was interviewed by Steve Austin on air on September 30.
On the same program Cllr Milton Dick, leader of the Labor Opposition on the Council, had alleged that the owner of the land who signed the agreement with the council had donated a total of $12,200 to the LNP and the Lord Mayor’s Forward Brisbane Leadership fund.
Here is a transcript of the questions and answers from the interview:
Question: Is there any link between the developer’s donations to the Liberal National Party and the infrastructure agreement being signed on a day when council members met the developer?
Answer: So, Steve, in relation to an infrastructure agreement – this infrastructure agreement does not actually allow development at all. I just need to make that very clear.
Question: No, I understand that but if you could answer my question – is there any link between the donations made by this developer and the approval of the infrastructure agreement?
Answer: The infrastructure agreement was drafted by council officers to make it very clear about the ecological values of the site, so it rules out the ecological corridors, the waterway corridors and saying that they are not able to be considered for development. So the infrastructure agreement, in fact, does the opposite. It rules things out of potential development applications for the future.
Question: Answer my question please, councillor. Is there any link between the donations this property developer has made to council and the approval of the infrastructure agreement?
Answer: So, Steve, with respect to who - so that the development application is dealt with by council officers as is an infrastructure agreement – it’s not drafted by politicians so any person…
Question: I understand that, you’ve made that point but you are not answering my question.
Answer: Well, Steve, the fact of the matter is that the way that this property has become valued is actually through the South East Queensland Regional Plan prepared by the State Labor Government. That is when we saw the opportunity for development to occur on this site and that happened in 2009 under the hand of the Australian Labor Party.
Question: All right, I’ll move on then and ask a different question.
(later in the interview) Cllr Cooper: I just want to make it really clear there is no link between any development application and the infrastructure agreement. They sit separately.
Question: So there is no link between the infrastructure agreement and the developer’s donation made to the LNP?
Answer: There is no link between the development application and the infrastructure agreement: yes, that’s right.
But this didn’t deal with the question of whether there was a link between the donations and the signing of the infrastructure agreement.
And a careful reading of the agreement reveals that it does talk about development approval being given, linked to 1350 homes being built.