The NSW Greens have welcomed the tough findings of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) into former members of Canterbury City Council.
The ICAC found former Canterbury City Council councillors Michael Hawatt (Liberal) and Pierre Azzi (Labor), and then director of city planning Spiro Stavis, engaged in serious corrupt conduct.
It found former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire gave false or misleading evidence to the inquiry and has recommended he be referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions for possible criminal charges.
The report also recommends some important first steps to tackle corruption in the planning system in NSW.
NSW Greens spokesperson on anti-corruption Jamie Parker MP said:
“This report cracks open the corrosive relationship between developers, Members of Parliament and local councils in NSW.
“It is remarkable that Labor and Liberal Councillors were working together to help out their developer mates, enrich themselves and rip off the public.
“We are now in the unprecedented situation where a close personal contact of a sitting Premier is potentially facing jail time for lying to the corruption watchdog. This raises serious questions for the Premier’s future, the integrity of her government and the oversight of planning in NSW.
“The recommendations expose major weaknesses in planning law that are being exploited by pro-development councillors. These recommendations are long overdue first steps to tackle corruption in the NSW planning system.
“There must be an immediate halt to any developments that have been approved by the councillors implicated in this report to allow for a full, independent investigation of these planning decisions. This is in line with Section 9.49 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which permits development consents that have been tainted by corruption to be overturned.
“I want to commend the courage of Greens Councillor Linda Eisler for blowing the whistle on this behaviour and seeking a referral to ICAC as early as 2014,” he says.
Jamie Parker is available for interview.