New developer ban to have massive loopholes

25 November 2009

You can drive a truck through the loopholes in the NSW Governments ban on property developer political donations, tabled in parliament today, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that large property development companies would be covered by the ban, but small fly-by-night operators would be exempt.


Most property development projects are carried out by individuals such as real estate agents, small-scale builders, hoteliers, accountants and lawyers who have opportunistically bought a site and are aggressively pursuing a development approval, Mr Gadiel said.


In anyones language these people are property developers yet many will not be covered by the NSW Governments ˜ban on developer donations.


In the details of the ban, tabled in parliament today, only companies who regularly make planning applications will be subject to the ban. Companies that have only made one development application will be excluded. Companies whose development activity is ad-hoc may also be exempt.


This ban will capture large-scale professional businesses, but exclude the fly-by-night opportunistic individuals.


The biggest corruption risks arise when unprofessional individuals buy a single site and try to secure a favourable development approval or rezoning.


These individuals frequently end up with sites that have restrictions they didnt anticipate.


Its very surprising that estate agents, lawyers, accountants, publicans and builders who do a little bit of property development on the side will still be free to donate to political parties.


Mr Gadiel said the problems caused by opportunistic individuals getting over the head were well known.


The whole ICAC inquiry into corruption at Rockdale Council centred on a tailor, who wanted to turn a site slated for four stories, into eight stories.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.



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