DEVELOPERS and land owners who tipped thousands of dollars into
Liberal Party coffers at the last state election are among the big
winners from the Baillieu government's controversial opening of green
wedge areas and farmland to development on Melbourne's fringe.
a leaked copy of recommendations by the high-level Logical Inclusions
Advisory Committee reveals recommendations to the minister to:
■include 14 new fringe areas across eight municipalities totalling more than 6000 hectares
■refer another 16 areas for possible future review in line with the Coalition's promise to review the boundary every two years
■reject requests for the inclusion of 11 areas in five municipalities
■reject the City of Casey's request to excise from the
metropolitan area a market garden area at North Clyde in the City of
Casey, rezoned urban by the Brumby government
Less than two years after the Brumby government extended
Melbourne's perimeter, Planning Minister Matthew Guy yesterday announced
the Coalition's plan to release the equivalent of 3500 MCGs of green
space in the municipalities of Casey, Whittlesea, Hume, Melton, Wyndham,
and at Wallan in the Shire of Mitchell to Melbourne's north.
One of the single biggest beneficiaries of the so-called
''logical inclusions'' extension is Narre Warren-based developer
The company was furious when overlooked by Labor in its
2009-2010 boundary review. But it was celebrating yesterday when Mr Guy
announced that 350 hectares of farmland it owns at Pakenham would become
metropolitan Melbourne's most south-eastern tip.
Yesterday Parklea chief executive Andrew Facey confirmed
being an enthusiastic Liberal supporter. He said he had contributed
thousands of dollars to the Liberals ahead of the 2010 election, had
attended numerous fund-raisers and was a member of Liberal fund-raising
bodies including the local Berwick Ranges 500 Club.
Last year The Age outed the Berwick Ranges among a string of such clubs that had breached
electoral laws by failing to declare themselves to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Mr Facey also told The Age that he had given
thousands of dollars - the exact amount is unclear but maybe $3000 -
directly to the ultimately successful campaign of aspiring Gembrook MP
The inclusion of Parklea's property will allow the
developer to transform farmland into housing worth hundreds of millions
In NSW developers are banned from making donations to political parties.
Other winners from yesterday's announcement were the
owner, the developer and the lobbyist connected to an egg farm known as
Brompton Lodge in the City of Casey.
Last year The Age revealed that the trio -
farmer Peter Carpenter, developer Watsons and lobbyist and former
Liberal MP Geoff Leigh - were poised to share in a $500 million bonanza
if the property was rezoned.
Overlooked for inclusion by Labor, Brompton Lodge was among the areas signed off for rezoning by Mr Guy yesterday.
The 100-hectare property was purchased as a bush block by
the Carpenter family for $50,000 in 1967. Developer Watsons has
estimated its developed value at up to $500 million.
Both Parklea's Pakenham property and Brompton Lodge were
among 6000 hectares approved for development yesterday following a
complex process, including a two-stage screening process through the
Growth Areas Authority and an expert advisory committee.
''This is the most thorough and transparent review the
state of Victoria has ever undertaken for metropolitan boundary
changes.'' Mr Guy said. ''The entire process has had the oversight of an
independent probity auditor.''
Last year Mr Carpenter told The Age that he had
met Mr Guy, then shadow planning minister, twice at Liberal
fund-raisers before the 2010 state election, was a close family friend
of the local Liberal MP for Carrum, Donna Bauer, and had contributed
thousands of dollars to local Liberal candidates.
Last year The Age revealed that lobbyist Geoff
Leigh had founded Business First, a Liberal fund-raising group that had
breached electoral laws by failing to declare tens of thousands of
dollars in donations, which were later declared.
At the time, Mr Leigh said that while not sure, he believed that his client Watsons had contributed to Business First.
The government has been at pains to stress its hands-off handling of the process. The Age does not suggest that Mr Guy or the government have been influenced by donations.
Mr Facey said he believed his donations were above board. He said Liberal policies were good for the property industry.
Mr Battin refused to discuss the donation from Parklea.
Last night Liberal Party director Damien Mantach said it
appeared Mr Facey had not donated directly to the party and may have
supported a local candidate.