You are here

Kangaroo Bay - Chambroad Development

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 23 March 2023

Tags: Kangaroo Bay, Clarence, Planning

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, I want to report the excellent news from Monday night's Clarence City Council meeting: the decision to buy back the Chambroad site in Kangaroo Bay and incorporate the land in perpetuity into the City Heart Project for the people of the Clarence community.

This is incredible news for the people of Clarence, and also for Kangaroo Bay Voice, who formed to fight this outrageous attack on public open space, on the visual beauty of that glorious bay, all the way up to kunanyi, across the Derwent River, as well as the amenity of the existing residents who live nearby. Ultimately, it was also the fight about the stinking, corrupted process that led to this development's approval in the first place, as a so called 'hospitality training centre'.

It started the first time the community heard about it. They thought that the master plan consultation process that they had undertaken for Kangaroo Bay in 2010 that was passed through the Tasmanian Planning Commission as a piece of planning policy that should influence the planning decisions in Clarence Council, was a done deal. They thought it was really clear. What they heard from Will Hodgman, the then premier, through a Liberal Party media release in 2015, was that without any consultation with the community and behind closed doors, he was going to gift $2.5 million worth of state public land to this developer, along with $5 million of federal money that went to the purchase of the land as well.

The Clarence City Council at the time was headed by mayor Doug Chipman, who was a card-carrying Liberal member - I think past president of the Liberal Party of Tasmania - and was also flying the flag for this project that the community had never heard about. The Chambroad petrochemical company from Binzhou in China visited Clarence in October 2018 and Doug Chipman and some other councillors wined and dined them in the Coal Valley. Then, in December 2016, whack, onto the table goes a development application for this massive so called hospitality and hotel centre right in the middle of public open space, just before Christmas, where the community had the Christmas period to prepare submissions.

In January 2017, the Clarence Council fast-tracked it and approved the development, and in May that same year, the council, mayor Chipman and most of the other councillors flew to China on the residents' purse to have another wining and dining with Binzhou, with the petroleum company they had just done a sweet deal for. That is the timeline, and the community was understandably outraged and strongly rose up against it.

It was clear by 2018 that the hospitality school was never going to fly. UTAS pulled out - if they were ever in in the first place, we will never know. The hospitality figleaf was always designed to hide Chambroad's real intention: a massive hotel and apartments on prime, public waterfront land.

The original sale of public land and development agreement required the developer to achieve substantial commencement by October 2022, and that was after they had received two extensions from the council. They failed to do that and triggered the buy-back clause.

I thank and honour the tireless work of the people from Kangaroo Bay Voice who, if they were not there in the beginning, we would never have had the community resistance that happened. Many people claimed responsibility for their part in a win at the end, but I credit the hard work over the years to Anne, Michael, Cheryl, Joanne, Victor and Sheena. There were others, but they were there at the very beginning and they started the formation of this strong community effort to fight for their land and process. We need to learn the rotten history of Kangaroo Bay and Chambroad debacle. It is what happens when money and politics collude and flout public planning and consultation processes.

If you are a developer and all your mates are developers, every parcel of land looks like a development site. If you are a Liberal and your mates are all developers, all Crown and conservation land looks like cheap real estate to exploit. The story of Chambroad and the leg up that was given to the project in 2016 by the Liberals, specifically the Office of Co ordinator General and the ministers and the secret dealings that wooed a Chinese petroleum company to Tasmania, is a big story and it has not been fully told. It is a story of greed and the conflict of interest that too regularly infects Tasmanian Liberal ministers.

They could not see a map of Crown lands they did not want to hand over to a private company, preferably one that was headed by an ex-staffer or a Liberal mate as a director. We are deeply concerned at Michael Ferguson's sly announcement yesterday that he is looking to open up public land for development around Hobart using his golden pen. He is planning to make changes that would have an impact on housing 20 years hence, meanwhile, the same minister who has Airbnb properties himself is refusing to use the golden pen to regulate short stay accommodation that would today make a difference to homeless people in Tasmania.

It would, today, make a difference to people who are in rental crisis because it would stop the enormous impact of short stay accommodation on the rental housing crisis in Tasmania. It is a flagrant abuse of his position and it will be defended vigorously by the community just as the community has defended and will continue to defend kunanyi. Good on Kangaroo Bay Voice.