Paper: Leader - Progress Press (Melbourne, Australia)
Title: Council issues ultimatum
Date: December 13, 2005
Section: News
Page: 007

LEGAL action and an allegation of a secret State Government financial arrangement over the sale of Kew Residential Services threaten to stall the troubled $400 million project.In a final bid to influence the shape of the development, Boroondara Council has issued the government with a list of demands it wants met.

And the council has warned it is ready to take its two-year stoush with the government back to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if its concerns go unanswered.

At a fiery meeting last week Bellevue Ward councillor Luke Tobin accused the government of having a conflict of interest as owner and planning authority for the site.

``It's bad enough that Dracula is already in the blood bank  we shouldn't let him rob it as well,'' Cr Tobin said.

He accused the government of striking a secret ``financial arrangement'' with developer Walker Corporation and urged the council to plough ahead with legal proceedings.

Department of Sustainability and Environment spokesman Rob Fischer denied a deal existed.

He said commercial negotiations were yet to be finalised and the finer points were ``not yet known''.

The council has vowed to resume its quest for a VCAT injunction against the development plan unless the government addresses its suggested improvements.

These include protection of significant trees and materials to be used in construction of homes on the site.

Mr Fischer said the government would honour its commitment to pour all proceeds of the land sale back into disability services.

Department of Human Services eastern metropolitan regional director John Leatherland was quizzed by Cr Tobin about the deal.

Mr Leatherland said he was unaware how much money his department would be allocated from the sale.

``It's not an issue of the government making a profit out of this development,'' Mr Leatherland said.

The council wants its concerns to be added to the revised Walker Corporation development plan, submitted in October, before it is considered by Planning Minister Rob Hulls.

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Section: News
Page: 007

Copyright, 2005, Nationwide News Pty Limited