Budget Estimates Hearings 21/08/14: Luke Foley Questions Minister for Planning Pru Goward-->
GENERAL PURPOSE STANDING COMMITTEE NO. 1
Thursday 21 August 2014
Examination of proposed expenditure for the portfolio areas
The Committee met at 9.00 a.m.
Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile (Chair)
The Reverend the Hon. F. J. Nile (Chair)
The Hon. S. Cotsis
The Hon. M. J. Pavey (Deputy Chair)
The Hon. C. E. Cusack
The Hon. A. R. Fazio
The Hon. L. Foley
The Hon. G. S. Pearce
The Hon. A. Searl
Mr D. M. Shoebridge
The Hon. Pru Goward, Minister for Planning, and Minister for Women
CAROLYN McNALLY, Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment, and
MARCUS RAY, General Counsel and Regulatory Reform, Department of Planning and Environment, affirmed and examined:
RICHARD PEARSON, Deputy Secretary, Housing, Growth and Economics, Department of Planning and Environment, and
CHRIS WILSON, Executive Director, Development Assessment Systems and Approvals, Department of Planning and Environment, sworn and examined:
CHAIR: I declare the proposed expenditure for the portfolios of Planning and Women open for examination.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I will start with some questions about the department's regulation of registered lobbyists. To the Minister or her officials, who can assist in telling us about the department's registered lobbyists contact protocol?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I will invite the Secretary to answer that.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Ms McNally, congratulations on your appointment. Am I correct in stating that the department's Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol applies to any and all communication between employees of the department and registered lobbyists?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: There is, indeed, on the department's website a four-page document entitled "Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol" that spells out in some detail how the department regulates its contact with lobbyists; it is a public document.
Ms McNALLY: In addition to that we also put up on the website the record of meetings with lobbyists.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: That would be the Lobbyist Contact Register that I have accessed this week. Does that register cover the field, as it were, in listing all communications between departmental officials and registered lobbyists?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: All?
Ms McNALLY: That focuses on meetings. So if there have been meetings, at the meetings there are records kept of the meeting and they are posted on the website.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: It covers meetings but does it not also cover, or at least note, telephone conversations that have occurred? It does that as well, does it not?
Ms McNALLY: Certainly we require, if there are any telephone conversations, for that to be recorded. I would have to clarify whether that is put on websites, but certainly it is recorded. As a good example, when I started in the department some months ago I sat down at my desk and next to my telephone was an actual template which I was to fill in when I was to have any calls from any lobbyists. So the department, on my very first day, explained that this is the process, and I have endeavoured to do that. Given the fact that they advised me of the process, I understand that would be the protocol right across the department. Certainly it is a matter that we have discussed at some of our executive meetings; it is something I feel very strongly about. We have a protocol and we do put our records of meetings up on the website.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: In terms of the department's regulation of contact with lobbyists—and there is continuity between the approach taken by the former director general who introduced this protocol and you—do you remain absolutely committed to upholding and abiding by that protocol?
Ms McNALLY: I do.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Perhaps I could assist in terms of your earlier answer. I note that on the Lobbyist Contact Register that records contact between registered lobbyists and department representatives there are numerous references to telephone calls. So the register is comprehensive in covering all aspects of communication, not simply face-to-face meetings. Is that a fair analysis that I have just made?
Ms McNALLY: I do not have that record in front of me, but if that is on there. It is my understanding that that is the process. I am happy to take that question on notice and provide you with some more detail.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: It is my understanding of the Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol that there is an obligation in all instances where contact occurs for that, whether or not it is a face-to-face meeting, to be recorded on the Lobbyist Contact Register. Is my understanding correct that that is policy under the protocol?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: To be explicit, the department states on page 2 of the Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol that the types of contacts covered by this protocol include, and there is a series of dot points, "telephone, meeting, email, other". That is the case, is it not?
Ms McNALLY: Yes.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: It escapes me what other contact could be possible.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Pigeon.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The Greens may have other forms of communication but for us mere earthlings the four types of contact in your protocol, I think it is fair to say, absolutely cover the field in terms of all communication that could occur between a registered lobbyist and a representative of your department.
Ms McNALLY: That is certainly my understanding.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Is it your understanding that registered lobbyists are informed that any and all contact will be placed on the department's website on the Lobbyist Contact Register?
Ms McNALLY: That is my understanding.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Is it the case that the departmental policy under the protocol is that records of contact shall be placed on the register and on the departmental website no later than 10 days following the contact occurring?
Ms McNALLY: That is right.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: We have covered the Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol and the Lobbyist Contact Register. Are there any other documents that are relevant when it comes to the department's regulation of lobbyists?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take that on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Could I take you to the department's Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy and Guidelines 2011? Is that a document with which you are familiar?
Ms McNALLY: Yes.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: It says 2011. Is that the latest version I am working off or has it been superseded?
Ms McNALLY: That is the latest version.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The document, which was signed off by your predecessor, remains one under your leadership that you are determined that all departmental employees abide by?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: That Code of Conduct and Ethics deals in part with, once again, the regulation of registered lobbyists, does it not?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Indeed, if I was to go to section 12 of the department's Code of Conduct and Ethics, it states at 12.1, "We must ensure that we comply with the NSW Government Lobbyist Code of Conduct as well as the department's Registered Lobbyist Contact Protocol". Do I take it from that that the departmental protocol is to be read in conjunction with the Department of Premier and Cabinet's code of conduct for lobbyists?
Ms McNALLY: Could you explain what you mean by that?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The departmental code of conduct says, "We comply with the NSW Government's code of conduct as well as our internal protocol". Is it fair for me to take from that that your protocol is not to be read separately to the entire Government's code of conduct; it is to be read in addition, as it were?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take that on notice. Is there some issue of difference there?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: No. Your department has led the field inside the New South Wales Government in adding to the terms of the Department of Premier and Cabinet's code of conduct and strengthening them with your own departmental protocol when it comes to dealing with lobbyists. In fact, the Department of Planning's protocol is best practice as far as the New South Wales Government is concerned. Would you agree with that?
Ms McNALLY: Certainly it is a very strong protocol. As I said, when I first joined the department I saw a step up in the way every conversation was recorded. It is certainly a very strong and a good-practice protocol.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Have there been any complaints made to the department to your knowledge or to the knowledge of the General Counsel concerning alleged breaches of either your departmental protocol and/or the Government's Lobbyist Code of Conduct?
Ms McNALLY: Certainly there has not been to me.
Mr RAY: I am not aware of any. There have not been any made to me.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Have you been the General Counsel of the department for some years?
Mr RAY: I have.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: If a complaint were to be made, Ms McNally, would the ball then be in the court of the General Counsel? Would it be a matter for Mr Ray and his team to deal with?
Ms McNALLY: We have a Governance Unit within the department and that Governance Unit would be the first place to which I would refer such an issue to seek advice. If something was revealed I would then seek advice from the General Counsel.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: In the event of a complaint—and to the knowledge of you and Mr Ray there has not been one to date—you would refer it in the first instance to the Governance Unit and then potentially to the General Counsel?
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: How are requirements imposed on your staff under the protocol monitored? Are any resources devoted by your department to monitoring compliance by departmental officials?
Ms McNALLY: Certainly, as I said, this has been a matter that we have discussed at the executive meetings that I have been holding that those processes are followed with managers through their meetings and that if any issues are identified they are brought to my attention.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Are internal audits carried out on an occasional or spot-check basis?
Ms McNALLY: We do have an internal audit process. I would have to take on notice what topics they have covered.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Will you come back to the Committee with that?
Ms McNALLY: Yes, I will come back to you.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Are you aware of media reports dealing with contact between the former senior manager in your department Matthew Daniel and certain figures of the Liberal Party?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take that on notice. That name is not specific to me.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Do you know Matt Daniel?
Ms McNALLY: No, I do not.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Mr Ray, do you know him?
Mr RAY: Yes, he was an officer in the department.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Was he a senior officer? Was he Director of the Major Project Delivery Unit?
Mr RAY: Yes, I think that was his title.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I seek to hand the witnesses some documents and table them. The documents deal with questions of contact between lobbyists and officials of the department. Do I have the Committee's permission to circulate them?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I object to that process. These are public hearings and if questions are to be raised, they should be raised in the public hearing or alternatively there is the option of putting the questions on notice. I object to questions being submitted that are not publicly available to the rest of the Committee members.
CHAIR: I presume that the Hon. Luke Foley will ask for comments on them.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I am seeking to be fair to the witnesses in providing documents that I am about to refer to.
CHAIR: And then ask questions based on the documents?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Yes.
CHAIR: They need to have the documents to answer the questions.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: Fairness has to be shown to other members of the Committee as well. This is not just about the Hon. Luke Foley; this Committee comprises other members of Parliament as well. Some courtesy should be extended to the other members.
CHAIR: Would you like a copy of the documents too?
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: When the Leader of the Opposition seeks our leave he ought at least have the courtesy of giving us some warning and providing us with the documents for which he is seeking leave.
CHAIR: The secretariat will supply copies to the witnesses and to all members of the Committee.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: Can we consider the matter of leave after we have had the opportunity to look at the documents? If the question of leave is "Can I do this with the documents?", which we have not even seen, it is clear that the answer from the Government is no.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: Chair, the normal process is the witness is shown the document, questions are asked and whether the document is formally tabled is a matter we resolve after the public hearing in a deliberative. I propose we adopt that process in this case.
The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: I concur with that proposal.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: So that we do not chew up question time.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Ms McNally, I refer to the fourth page of the documents I have handed up.
Ms McNALLY: We have not got them yet.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: The secretariat is still copying them.
The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: No, there was a copy there for everyone.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: In terms of these documents, what is the procedure, Mr Chair? Have they now been tabled?
CHAIR: Has the attendant supplied them to the witnesses?
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: They are just being shown to the witnesses now and we will consider the tabling of them afterwards.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: When members embark on these ambushes it can take time to get things organised. It is not the fault of Government members that we have gone through this tortuous process. The Hon. Luke Foley flourishes these documents, which no-one has seen before, and it then takes some time to go through the process of tabling them and understanding what they are. Dumping them on witnesses not only lacks courtesy but also is not an efficient process.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Having had a quick look at the documents I do not object to them being shown to the witnesses. I point out that these documents are all dated about March to June 2012, at which time neither the Minister nor the Secretary were in those positions and, therefore, they would not be able to answer questions on these documents anyway.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: I also remind the Committee that the date does not fit with the 2014-15 budget year which we are discussing.
CHAIR: I will leave it to the witnesses to answer questions from the Leader of the Opposition based on the documents.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Ms McNally, contained at page four of the documents is email correspondence from a registered lobbyist: the Manager, NSW Government Business, PremierState. That was the registered lobbyist for a developer in the Balmain Leagues Club matter.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Point of order: I do not want to waste time but the document referred to by the Hon. Luke Foley may well be from the person he is describing but it has no authentication to establish that it was received by the department or that it is genuine.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: That is not a point of order.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: They are trying to eat into my time.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: Point of order: This estimates hearing is to ask questions of Minister Goward, who was not the relevant Minister at that time. Therefore, it is entirely out of order for questions about these documents to be put to her.
The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: To the point of order: The issue goes to the management of contact between the department and lobbyists. Even though Minister Goward was not the relevant Minister at that time, other officials were there at the time and are quite capable of providing comment on this matter. I believe there is no point of order.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: To the point of order: With respect, you have put the Committee in a position where the Minister can just take every question and answer it by saying "I was not the Minister at that time."
CHAIR: That is right and that is the Minister's province.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: I would like you, Mr Chair, to rule on my point of order, which related to authentication of these documents before they are put to the witnesses.
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: That is not a point of order.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Certainly the document that is being asked about at the moment has nothing on it to authenticate it.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Mr Chair, there has just been a five-minute effort to eat into my time. I ask that you exercise your discretion to grant me an additional three minutes to ask a couple of questions of the Minister or her officials to conclude this line of questioning. I would seek your indulgence on that, Mr Chair.
CHAIR: You can have three minutes from my section. The Minister is free to give the answer as she has been led by the Hon. Greg Pearce. It is up to the Minister.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Ms McNally, will you investigate whether there has been a breach of the protocol of the department that registers contact with lobbyists and, in particular, investigate whether PremierState, the registered lobbyist for Balmain Leagues Club, has had contact with the former Director of the Project Delivery Unit, Matt Daniel, which was not declared on the lobbyist contact register? Will you undertake to investigate that matter, Ms McNally?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Why do you not make a complaint? You have spent several minutes going through the process; do it the proper way.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I am raising it now.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: That is an assertion.
Ms McNALLY: I can certainly look into the matter, Mr Foley.
CHAIR: It may have been declared or not declared.
Ms McNALLY: I would also like to note that the proposal you are talking about was refused by the Planning Assessment Commission on 11 April.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Indeed it was. Elias demanded his money back from Photios. I am not making an accusation. To be clear, I am raising a matter about a potential breach of a departmental official's obligations under your code of conduct and a registered lobbyist's obligations under the Government's code of conduct. I am asking whether you or your governance unit or your General Counsel will investigate that and get back to the Committee with a response on what you have found.
Ms McNALLY: As I said, I am happy to look into the matter, Mr Foley, but also I would like to note that after consideration by the department's assessment it found the project should not be supported.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Indeed.
Ms McNALLY: On that assessment it looked at a whole range of issues and then the Planning Assessment Commission refused the application following its examination of the matter. But I am happy to look into the matter you have raised.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I am not asking about the planning outcome, Ms McNally; I am asking about whether—
Ms PRU GOWARD: You can be reassured that the planning outcome was one that suggests that the department behaved properly.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: You and I may be on a unity ticket on that one, Minister. What I am particularly asking about is whether Mr Daniel and/or a registered lobbyist, PremierState, breached the onerous requirements that your department and the Department of Premier and Cabinet place on both government officials and registered lobbyists? I have drawn to your attention certain documents. I would also ask you to look at the article by Kate McClymont published on 22 July that contained quotes from the lobbyist where he admits talking to your departmental official Matt Daniel. Will you investigate all of the matters on the record in the media and that I have handed you today and report back to the Committee on your investigations?
Ms McNALLY: So that I am clear, Mr Foley, can you clarify what you think the breach is?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I would ask you to investigate and advise on whether Mr Daniel breached his obligations by not recording all communications with the lobbyist PremierState on your department's lobbyist contact register, as all of your officials are obliged to do?
The Hon. MELINDA PAVEY: In 2012.
Ms McNALLY: I will take that on notice.
Mr RAY: Mr Foley, could I just ask you to give me the date of the article?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: It is 22 July 2014 titled "Michael Photios, the Tigers and the wrath of angry client Benny Elias".
CHAIR: Can you supply a copy of the article? That is not in the other documents.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Yes.
CHAIR: It is a technical question dealing with whether the register was fulfilled correctly. It is not discussing your decisions about the project.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: Based on a newspaper story from last July.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I refer to the draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney. When can we anticipate the draft strategy becoming the strategy? When will you release the final strategy?
Ms PRU GOWARD: The Government is in the process of finalising the strategy. This strategy will outline the Government's plan to create a strong, competitive, liveable and productive global city. It will outline how the State Government will provide the homes, the jobs and the great places we will need to accommodate an additional 1.6 million people over the next 20 years. Western Sydney, in particular, will see unprecedented growth and change. The Western Sydney community have told us that they expect more when it comes to economic development, investment in local communities and the delivery of infrastructure.
The metropolitan strategy takes a fresh approach to planning for Western Sydney, making sure that every part of Sydney can enjoy the benefits of future growth. The metropolitan strategy will set a clear framework for growth by articulating a vision for Sydney's future and identifying key areas that will see
transformative change and shape the city over the coming decades. It will set ambitious targets for new homes and jobs. It will identify actions for both this Government and local government, so we can all get on with the job of delivering the strategy's objectives. It will monitor and report on Sydney's growth to make sure we are heading in the right direction.
As you suggest, the draft metropolitan strategy was released for community consultation in 2013. The Government has very carefully considered the community's views on a range of topics. The community have told us that they expect growth and change to be supported with appropriate investment in infrastructure and services. The best cities around the world, as we know, are cities that successfully integrate land use with infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure. The metropolitan strategy will include the latest population projections for Sydney and updated information on demand for new housing. When released, the strategy will provide the framework for guiding Sydney's continued success as a global city.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Will it be released in the life of this Parliament or in the life of the next Parliament?
Ms PRU GOWARD: We are in the process of finalising the plan.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Minister, can you or the executive with some responsibility for the plan tell us if we can anticipate that the architecture of six subregions covering the 41 local government areas will remain in place or will that alter?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I invite the Secretary to answer that or we can take it on notice.
Ms McNALLY: That still remains in place.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The six subregions are Central, West Central, North, North West, South West and South, and that remains the guiding architecture of the subregional strategy for Sydney's future development?
Ms McNALLY: We are putting subregional plans together as an important part of being able to provide an overarching regional perspective. Typically, you go from State level to local level, and regional plans provide an opportunity to look at things in a more regional way. It is an important part of the planning process going forward.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The Minister has just advised that the population projections contained in the draft metropolitan strategy will be updated for the final metropolitan strategy. Would I be correct in believing that the document that appeared on your website this month, "New South Wales State and Local Government Area Population Projections: 2014 Final", contains the most up-to-date population projections that the department is working from?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take that on notice. We are updating our population projections.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Mr Ray was nodding. Can anybody at the table assist with telling me if I am correct in assuming that the figures on the department's website, entitled "2014 Final", are the most up-to-date figures that the department is working from?
Ms McNALLY: I would like to take that on notice to make sure I give the correct answer.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: But you are not aware today of any figures that are more current than the ones I have referred to that appear on your website?
Ms McNALLY: I have people working on the metropolitan strategy as we speak. I am yet to see the final figures, so I need to take that on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I take you to the most up-to-date figures I have to work from—the 2014 final figures on your website. The three subregions that cover greater Western Sydney—the three of the six subregions covering the west of our city—project an additional population of more than 900,000 to 2031, do they not?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take those figures on notice. I have not committed those figures to memory.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I am reminded that the draft metropolitan strategy projected growth for Sydney of 1.3 million by 2031, around 913,000 in the three subregions that collectively cover greater Western Sydney. Does that ring a bell?
Ms McNALLY: The 1.3 million and the 1.6 million ring a bell, but I would have to take any other level of detail on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The 1.6 million to which you refer reflects the fact that the 2014 figures, which are more up to date than those in the draft metropolitan strategy, tell us that Sydney's projected population growth to 2031 has gone from 1.3 million in the draft strategy to 1.6 million in your 2014 figures.
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: My effort with a calculator last night tells me that the population of greater Western Sydney, in your most recent figures, goes from just over two million in 2011—that is, 2,012,000—to 2,919,000 in 2031. Is that your understanding?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I think we should take those questions on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Does anyone at the table have some knowledge of the current population projections that the department works from?
Ms PRU GOWARD: We will take it on notice.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: The notes from your calculator will do it.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I will read some of the population projections. Blacktown's population will increase by 161,000 by 2031; Camden's population will increase by 104,000 by 2031; Liverpool's population will increase by 101,000 by 2031; Penrith's population will increase by 77,000 by 2031; and Parramatta's population will increase by 79,000 by 2031.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: Are these your calculator's figures?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Is that an accurate account of what is in your current figures?
Ms McNALLY: Are those figures taken from our website?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: It is a public document.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: They are taken from your website.
Ms McNALLY: They would be accurate.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: So they would be correct?
The Hon. AMANDA FAZIO: Stop interrupting. I cannot hear the witnesses.
CHAIR: Let Mr Foley continue his line of questioning.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: If I look at the North subregion, the population increases, on these updated figures, by 133,000 by 2031, does it not?
Ms McNALLY: I would have to take that on notice. If those figures are taken from our website, they would be accurate figures.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: If I randomly take a local government authority—let us take Manly: Its population will increase by 10,800 by 2031. Do you stand by that figure on your website?
Ms McNALLY: I stand by the figures on our website.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: At the time that they were published.
Ms McNALLY: That is correct.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: This month. Minister, your Government is targeting more than 900,000 more people in Western Sydney compared with 130,000 more people on the North Shore. That is unbalanced population growth for Sydney, is it not?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I have said repeatedly that all regions of Sydney will have to take their fair share of growth.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: But they are not taking their fair share according to the numbers I have just quoted, are they, Minister?
Ms PRU GOWARD: They will take their fair share of growth.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Blacktown gets 161,000 more people, Liverpool gets 101,000 more people, Manly gets 10,000 more people, Mosman gets 6,000 more people. It is just unfair. The North Shore is being insulated, is it not, Minister?
Ms PRU GOWARD: Those projections are based on current arrangements. I will take questions on notice for any further population increases. You know the basis of demographic modelling. You know that the numbers you are referring to are based on current assumptions. I will take your questions on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: You are adding a city the size of Adelaide to the population of Western Sydney but simply a small country town for the North Shore. You are just protecting your Liberal Party heartland on the North Shore, are you not? It is unbalanced population growth, is it not?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I have said all regions of Sydney will take their fair share of growth and I will take that question on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: How can it be fair for the North Shore to carry an extra 130,000 people and Western Sydney to carry more than 900,000 additional people?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I will take that question on notice. I have said repeatedly that they will take their fair share and that infrastructure will clearly be a determinant of where we encourage population growth.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: The North Shore is doing pretty well for infrastructure; it has a North Shore railway line, it has plenty of schools and hospitals. How on earth is it fair that a subregion with that much in the way of infrastructure today is so light on, so insulated from carrying its fair share of Sydney's population growth?
Ms PRU GOWARD: You are challenging the assumptions of the demography. I will take that on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Is it the case that Liverpool's population will increase by—
Ms PRU GOWARD: We can play this game all day but I am going to give you the same answer. The demographics and the demographic projections are based on a number of assumptions which can change and the demographic unit bases them on the current assumptions. I will take further questions on notice.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: In part they are based on political decisions about where you put housing.
Ms PRU GOWARD: That is absolutely ridiculous.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Where housing goes—these are properly decisions of government: where to release land, where to build medium-density and high-density—
The Hon. GREG PEARCE: Point of order: Mr Foley apparently does not understand that in Western Sydney there is greenfields new development and development in the built-up parts of Sydney is brownfields development and that has been the case for several decades, including under your previous Labor governments.
CHAIR: Order! Mr Pearce, you cannot debate the questions.
The Hon. CATHERINE CUSACK: But, with respect, Mr Chair, the implication that these figures are political figures is an adverse reflection on the Minister. She has answered the question repeatedly and I ask that you direct the questioner to move on.
CHAIR: The member can make any statement he wishes. He has made a statement.
Ms PRU GOWARD: After 16 years of what you did to Western Sydney you have got a darned cheek asking it now.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Minister, you issue press releases crowing about land releases for Western Sydney, you tell us in your opening answer to my questions on the metropolitan strategy—
Ms PRU GOWARD: And what did you do about Western Sydney? You did not plan; you did not plan the infrastructure.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: —that you are bringing population growth to Western Sydney. Why are you prepared to seek political credit but not prepared to answer why Manly gets 10,000 people and Blacktown gets 160,000? Why will you not take responsibility for that planning projection for this city?
Ms PRU GOWARD: I am telling you that demographics are based on assumptions and assumptions can change, as you well know.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: And decisions of government about where houses go.
Ms PRU GOWARD: You will have to wait for the metropolitan strategy, will you not?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Could I ask you, in the short time remaining, about the Parramatta Urban Renewal Strategy? I understand that at least one mayor on the corridor has expressed—
Ms PRU GOWARD: Are you talking about Parramatta Road?
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: Yes. At least one mayor on the corridor has expressed concern about applications for spot rezoning potentially going to pre-Gateway reviews. Is that appropriate in light of your commendable efforts to establish a partnership between State government urban growth and local government for urban renewal on the Parramatta Road corridor?
Ms PRU GOWARD: As you know, we are working, I think very collaboratively, with the councils. The memorandum of understanding that we have does not commit councils to the strategy; it gives them a defined role in its development but it does not take away planning controls from local government. It gives them a seat at the table.
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY: I congratulate you on that.
CHAIR: We will move on to Mr Shoebridge now.