Trust behaviour at Harbour Trust Public Board meeting generates renewed determination

Trust behaviour at Harbour Trust Public Board meeting generates renewed determination

Opposition to the Harbour Trust and developer’s proposed residential aged care facility rose to new levels in terms of numbers, dismay and anger at the Public Board meeting on Tuesday 9 December.

Approximately 400 people made their presence felt in the cavernous Drill Hall at Georges Heights after a peaceful demonstration outside.

The crowd came notwithstanding the meeting scheduled at the last “legal” minute in the middle of the day in the busy pre-Christmas period.

The overall feeling of the meeting was that never before has mistrust in the Trust been so evident and justifiable.

It was a moving display of people power and community values.

Phil Jenkyn OAM, former barrister and long time member of the Trust’s Community Advisory Committee demanded that the Board and its Executive Director resign immediately. Never in his long legal career had he witnessed the executive officer of a consent authority acting as the proponent’s advocate.

He lamented the Trust’s continuing failures to answer fundamental questions about the integrity of its processes and its lack of genuine community consultation.

The mood of the community was further antagonised by Harbour Trust Chairperson Anthea Tinney’s avoidance of straightforward and legitimate questions about the Trust’s decision-making process.

After a blistering confrontation with 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, instructed the Board to permit questions at the meeting having previously sent a letter of refusal to Vice President Julie Goodsir.

To most of the audience it seemed Anthea Tinney, Executive Director, Geoff Bailey, and other members of the Board had been directed to say as little as possible. Only Anthea Tinney spoke and at one point she invoked legal privilege after consulting the lawyer seated to her right at the Board table (see photos).

It was also revealed that the Board had employed a private certifier as a “relevant consent authority” to justify its claimed bushfire safety clearance rather than the Rural Fire Service.

No one at the meeting was in any doubt that the Trust has lost its vision and is deaf to community opposition. This issue is fast approaching a case of failure of leadership, corporate governance and indeed government response.

The Trust’s “crash through regardless” of the political, social, legal and reputation consequences reinforces our determination to achieve the right outcome for 10 Terminal.

We call on Tony Abbott to suspend action on signing the lease until due process is complete. Questions raised concerning legal matters in the Environment Act; apparent lack of due process in tender section; bushfire safety measures; and failure to consult with the CAC, demand unbiased answers. We’ve waited since 1998 for the correct use of 10 Terminal. We can wait another six months until these due process issues are resolved.

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