TWT’s HUNTERS HILL BAN

"If The Weekly Times can't come in, we'll go outside!" - Hunters Hill residents outside Fairland Hall on Wednesday night. TWT on-the-spot PHOTO

Community outrage  as TWT is banned from information

session by State Government bureaucrats!

BY OUR CIVIC ROUNDSMAN

The Weekly Times was banned from attending a Property NSW information night in Hunters Hill last Wednesday to learn more about the Nelson Parade contaminated waste issue.

The event was held at the Fairland Hall Community Centre and our reporter was banned from entering the hall by Property NSW Corporate Affairs Director James Abbott.

Property NSW is a government department that falls under the ministerial responsibilities of Ryde MP and NSW Minster for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello.

“Waste of money and resources”

The Nelson Parade Action Group was at the meeting and said it was shocked  the local community newspaper was not allowed to attend a meeting at a community hall that impacts on the   community.

“It was the height of arrogance to exclude The Weekly Times, absolutely unacceptable,” the Chair of the Hunters Hill Environment Action Group John Atkin said.

“They even tried to stop us taking photographs or using sound equipment and we spent two hours, with no chairs to sit on at a meeting that told us nothing.”

Action group spokesperson Philippa Clark agreed.

“This was absolutely outrageous, typical of the secrecy,” she said.

“What are they trying to hide?

The answer to her question is nothing. Residents who attended the meeting said it did not tell them anything they didn’t already know from reports in The Weekly Times.

Property NSW’s brochure, distributed in February, announcing the March 14 community consultation at Hunters Hill
Mr Atkin questioned why it took more than a dozen bureaucrats to host the meeting and said the money would have been better spent hiring a  dozen workers to clean up the waste and place it
in protective containers.“I asked why not put the waste in containers for temporary storage and they couldn’t even answer this simple question,” he said.
Mr Abbott defended his actions and stressed that the media was able to put questions to him in an email.“As mentioned on the night, Property NSW was happy to facilitate questions from the media,” he said.
He said the focus of the Property NSW consultation was for residents “within a 500m radius of Nelson Parade” and other “invited stakeholders”, including the Nelson Parade Action Group
and Hunters Hill Council.

“The consultation was intended to provide the community with information about the status of the remediation process and give the community a chance to raise concerns or ask questions,” Mr Abbott said.

“We undertook genuine consultation with the community for the purpose of providing an update on the remediation process, and so the community could raise concerns or ask questions.”Mr Atkin doesn’t agree.

“I record formally my strongest possible protest,” he said.

“An information drop-in session when people may come and go at different times and at which there are potentially multiple conversations happening at the same time is not a meeting.”

Philippa Clark held a follow-up meeting with Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts on Thursday and  while she thanked Mr Roberts for listening to her views, she was sceptical about the commitment of
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and Ryde MP Victor Dominello, whose ministerial portfolio includes Property NSW.

“Thanks to The Weekly Times we have Mr Roberts’ attention and where we are fortunate is that our Mayor, Mark Bennett, is particularly supportive,” she said.

Mr Dominello recently announced a multi-million dollar reserve fund had been made available for a clean up.