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Cable Car Enabling Bill Strong Echoes of Paul Lennon and John Gay

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tags: Cable Car

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Member for Denison 

Draft legislation to oil the wheels for a private cable car development on kunanyi/Mt Wellington is the worst piece of enabling legislation to hit the Tasmanian Parliament since Paul Lennon and John Gay's Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007.

State Growth Minister, Matthew Groom, seems to be celebrating the ten year anniversary of the corrupt pulp mill enabling legislation with a special law that gifts a public asset to enable a single private development.

Having devoted public resources including a departmental email address to this project since day one, Mr Groom is going all out for his mate Mr Bold.  His cable car enabling legislation even has the gall to describe the proposed cable car as public infrastructure under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act 1993.

The Minister's claim the bill will enable normal planning processes is simply unbelievable.

What it does, in reality, is grant exemptions to planning laws for Minister Groom’s friend and campaign contributor, Adrian Bold.

It also sets a dangerous precedent.  The draft bill treats the project as “public infrastructure” for the purposes of the Land Acquisition Act 1993.

It also removes the current requirement that a private proponent must first acquire landowner consent.

If they introduce special legislation to skirt planning laws and to privatise a public asset once for their campaign contributors, what’s to stop them from doing it again in the future?

Government compulsory acquisition of land should only be undertaken when necessary and in the public interest.

It can only work if there is transparency and trust that the legal frameworks will only be used to deliver critical infrastructure to the public, that cannot be reasonably be delivered otherwise.

A private cable car development is most certainly not public infrastructure.

Time and time again the Liberals demonstrate that they believe they can bully other democratically elected bodies to pursue an agenda only the Liberals and a small number of vested interests support.

In one of their worst offences yet, with this enabling Bill, Minister Groom has shown he is willing to mislead Tasmanians, cheat planning laws, steal land from councils and the public, and offend Tasmanian Aborigines who regard the mountain as a sacred place, all in the name of forwarding one of his mate's questionable projects.

This is what the Liberals' 'open for business' mantra looks like.  The message is clear - if you are a private developer looking to capitalise on a public asset and have the wheels greased for your project, Matthew Groom is the Minister for you.