Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for STATE GROWTH, Mr FERGUSON
Your Coordinator-General, John Perry, has taken an unprecedented and concerning step, inserting himself into a planning process to try to influence council over a contentious private hospital development in New Town. This is taking oiling the wheels for private interests on the taxpayer's purse to the next level. Can you explain to the House on what basis your Coordinator-General thought it appropriate to try to influence the decision making of the Hobart City councillors on behalf of a private developer this way?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Clark for her question. The Government supports the proponent's application that is currently before Hobart City Council. We respect Hobart City Council as the planning authority to make that judgment but we want to let the Hobart City Council know that we support that important development for the people of Tasmania and especially of southern Tasmania. I put that on the record on behalf of this Government, as the Attorney General has already done as the Minister for Building and Construction, as I have done so, as the Minister for Health has done so. We are in support.
It should be no surprise to members that the Coordinator General, Mr John Perry, who does an outstanding job of attracting investment in our state on behalf of Government, would adopt and promote the view of Government to the Hobart City Council, which is quite proper.
The Office of Coordinator General is on the record. His job is to attract and facilitate investment in the state. He is expected to support projects that will deliver real benefits to the economy and our community. It is also not a new action from the Coordinator General to be doing so. In fact it is long-standing practice of the Coordinator General to provide in person -
Ms O'Connor - Trying to influence planning decisions.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor
Mr FERGUSON - It is in fact long-standing practice for the Coordinator General to provide in-person representation regarding proposals or his office's activities to different council and regional council groups over the years. I am aware that that has been the case around the state. In most councils around Tasmania the Coordinator General and his team are most welcome to discuss proposals. It still sits with the local council as a planning authority to -
Ms O'Connor - Writing a letter to the planning decision makers.
Madam SPEAKER - Order, warning one Ms O'Connor.
Mr FERGUSON - form a view based on their official's advice, which is quite proper. There is nothing improper about it. He does so with our blessing and support. I hope, Ms O'Connor, like the Labor Party, you might change your opposition to the Office of Coordinator General.