Barangaroo exemption a toxic act

The decision by Planning Minister Tony Kelly to exempt Barangaroo from the usual laws that apply to contaminated land may harm our harbour and the health of Sydney residents for generations.

Last Wednesday, just two days before the government went into caretaker mode in the lead up to the state election, Minister Kelly changed the state land remediation policy to specifically exclude Barangaroo.  The decision also came just days before judgement was to be handed down in a court case over the matter launched by Australians for Sustainable Development (AfSD), which legal experts predicted would find against Barangaroo.

AfSD argued that the Barangaroo development had not followed the required procedures for the remediation of contaminated land.  However the changes to the rules mean those procedures are no longer required at Barangaroo, removing the main plank in the court case.

Kelly and Premier Keneally have been on the defensive ever since, continually insisting that the change to the rules was simply a clarification.  However the new text of the planning policy specifically states Barangaroo is excluded whilst ignoring other major projects, so the clarification argument holds very little water.

Sydney Harbour now faces an uncertain future with work to begin on the project in a matter of days and none of the normal protections against contamination in place.


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