Liberal donor and Photios client wrote ‘independent’ audit to force horses off the Yaralla Estate

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The report that led NSW Health to evict community horses from the historic Yaralla Estate in Concord, Sydney, was written by a company that secretly donated more than $30,000 to the Liberal Party and engages Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Photios as a paid lobbyist.

Community horses are being forced off the Yaralla Estate after a secret deal was signed by NSW Health (which owns the Yaralla Estate land) to move the NSW Mounted Police Unit to the public paddocks.

NSW Health made the decision after contracting a company named Blue Visions Management Pty Ltd to “audit” the community horse paddocks at the Yaralla Estate in return for an undisclosed sum of money.

However, Blue Visions Management is no ordinary company. The NSW Labor Opposition can confirm that its front company, AMK Holdings Pty Ltd, funnelled $30,000 in donations to the Liberal Party in 2010 and 2011.

In addition, the company’s interests in its dealings with the O’Farrell Government are being advanced by Michael Photios’ firm, PremierState Consulting, according to the NSW Lobbyists Register.

Mr Photios is a close confidant of both Health Minister Jillian Skinner and the Chair of the Sydney Local Health District, Ron Phillips. All three have been leading figures in the left faction of the NSW Liberal Party for 25 years.

Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley said: “Community horse owners are being forced off the Yaralla Estate because of a secret deal between the Sydney Local Health District and NSW Police to move the mounted police horses onto the public land."

“The allegedly ‘independent audit’ by Blue Visions Management was nothing of the sort. It was an exercise in delivering the Liberal Government the answer they wanted – the removal of the community horse owners and the handover of the paddocks to NSW Police.

“Blue Visions Management has used a front company to donate large amounts to the Liberal Party – and its paid lobbyist Michael Photios is the most powerful backroom operator in the NSW Liberal Party.

“It’s become clear to the local community that the fix is still in.

“For generations, local children have ridden horses and families have used the Yaralla Estate grounds – but they are now facing being locked out of a public estate.
“The Health Minister should listen to the local community, intervene and stop the evictions immediately."

Mr Foley has called on the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner to answer the following questions:
1. Why was there no tender for the contract which was awarded to Blue Vision Management?
2. How much was Blue Vision Management paid for this work?
3. Why is NSW Health refusing to reveal how much was paid for this work?
4. What discussions took place between Mr Photios and Mr Phillips regarding the audit?
5. Why is Blue Visions Management consultant Ron Turner still involved in the Health District’s management of the horse paddocks at Yaralla?
6. Is Blue Visions Management still being paid for work concerning the future of the horse paddocks at the Yaralla Estate?