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“An unmitigated disaster”

09 Nov 2017

“An unmitigated disaster” Image

By Sean Car

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley has provided an honest assessment of his government’s decision this year to grant Crown an approval for its controversial Queensbridge Tower proposal.

Speaking at the Southbank Residents’ Association annual general meeting (AGM) at the Boyd Community Hub on October 11, Minister Foley described the decision as “bad planning” in his address to residents.

Premier Daniel Andrews granted Crown an approval for its controversial mega tower as a project of state significance in March, as it was exempted from the normal planning process.

The government gifted Crown an approval in exchange for a claimed $100 million “public benefits package”, which included a range of public realm improvements and a sky deck on the building’s top floor.

Minister Foley described the decision as an “unmitigated disaster” and intimated his disappointment at the outcome of the State Cabinet’s decision-making process.

“In that collective decision making sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t,” he said.

“In terms of the process that I went through for all the commitments that I’ve made both to the party and the community that I represent, and there’s historically always tensions with those two, ultimately it’s not me that judges that it’s the 45,000 people who determine my fate every four years.”

Freshwater Place owners’ corporation (OC) chair Peter Renner, who has led the chorus of locals calling on State Parliament to refer the matter to a State Planning Tribunal, also addressed Mr Foley at the AGM.

Mr Renner asked the local member whether it was too late for his government to improve a number of controversial elements of the project, to which he responded:

“I think the opportunity to essentially deliver a project in a bad frame that is less bad is not an unrealistic one given, to call a spade a shovel, things like the air bridge and the relationship to the community benefit arguments are particularly irreconcilable issues,” he said.

“Fundamentally it was a bad planning process that led to a bad planning outcome.”

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