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Senate puts Turnbull on notice over growing public anger against Liberal Bondi developer plans

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 5 May 2016

A motion passed by the Senate has drawn Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull into the Bondi Pavilion controversy that has pitted local Liberals, including one of the PM’s staff, against residents opposed to plans that have seen a cost blowout from $9 to $38 million, Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon said. A copy of the motion is below. 

“The future of Bondi Pavilion is now a federal issue and a potential headache for the Prime Minister,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

“The Prime Minister’s staffer, Waverley Mayor Sally Betts, has locked Waverley Council into a $38 million over development plan for the Pavilion that requires federal funding. 

“The Senate motion passed with the support of the Greens, Labor and crossbenchers sets out conditions that would ensure the Prime Minister backs community and not developer interests in any future Pavilion upgrade. 

“Before any federal funding is handed over the Senate has called on Mr Turnbull to ensure that the current community to commercial space ratio is retained.

“A further condition on the allocation of federal money suggested by the Senate requires that plans to turn the first floor into a restaurant and bar or function centre precinct are scrapped and the area retained for community and theatre use. 

“Mayor Betts is under pressure to explain how the project cost has blown out to $38 million. The original budget for Pavilion restoration was estimated by Council in early 2015 to be $9 million.

“NSW Liberals are known for their close contacts with various developers who over the years have attended party fundraisers. 

“In 2007 Mr Turnbull along with former prime minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret attended the celebration of a third of a century of the Bondi Pavilion community and cultural centre. 

“Nine years later the Prime Minister is being urged to stick with his original commitment to the community and not allow further commercialisation of the Pavilion,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

 

NOTICE OF MOTION                                                                                               3 May 2015

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move –

That the Senate –

a) notes that:

i) Waverley Council, the area of which is contained in the seat of Wentworth, has agreed to a $38 million redevelopment of Bondi Pavilion,

ii) on 30 April at a special Waverly Council meeting attended by 300 people Sally Betts, Waverly mayor and electorate officer for Wentworth MP Malcolm Turnbull, used her casting vote to pass the redevelopment plan,

iii) there is growing community concern that the Waverley Council redevelopment plans would reduce the current community to commercial use ratio and result in the Pavilion being privatised by stealth,

iv) in response to these concerns, Waverley Council has published misleading figures for proposed community floor space which appear to include outdoor areas as replacement for current community rooms,

v) the original budget for restoration of the Bondi Pavilion was estimated by Council in early 2015 to be $9 million, and that the cost blowout to a currently estimated $38 million is primarily the result of the proposed changes to the building's structure in the redevelopment plan, and

vi) Mr Turnbull in July 2007 with former prime minister Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret attended the celebration of a third of a century of the Bondi Pavilion community and cultural centre;

b) calls on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to publicly support Bondi Pavilion being retained as a community and cultural centre; 

c) calls on the Turnbull government to ensure any financial assistance is limited to assisting with restoration of the Bondi Pavilion that maintains the current community to commercial space ratio; and  

d) calls on the Turnbull government to ensure any financial assistance is conditional upon the Pavilion first floor being retained for community and theatre use, and the discontinuation of upgrade plans that turn this area into a restaurant and bar or function centre precinct.
 

SENATOR LEE RHIANNON                                                            SENATOR SAM DASTYARI

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