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Don't Screw KewThe Archive  2007 @  WWW.KEW.ORG.AU
Kew Cottages Coalition Reg # A0044698H


Wednesday  November

Main Drive Kew Stage 2
Kew Cottages Walker Stage 2 Planning Permit Application, SubDivision & Removal of Native Vegetation

Victorian Minister for Planninmg
Planning Permit

No. 20070638  inc.
Endorsed Attachments
11th April 2008


Tuesday October 9th 2007

State 'caved in' to Richardson's pleas


Clay Lucas
October 9, 2007

Property giant tells of lobbying coup...

Monday October 1st 2007

Minister boycotts land inquiry


Clay Lucas
October 1, 2007

Government jittery over public land sales.....

(Read all about it here.....)


Thursday September 27th 2007

Ex-senator may front

Kew Cottages

land deal inquiry 


Clay Lucas
September 27, 2007

CONTROVERSIAL former senator Graham Richardson is likely to be forced to give evidence to an inquiry into the sale of public land by the State Government.

The role of Graham "Richo" Richardson and Walker Corporation in the sale of public land by the State Government at the contentious Kew Cottages site was the main topic on the first day of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Land Development yesterday. (more..)

Kew Hearing
Parliamentary Probe into Public Land Sales
moves to East Kew (Map)

Wednesday September 26th 2007

Kew Cottages Public Hearing
will now be held at
11.15am- 3.45pm
East Kew Uniting Church
(instead of the Old Pharmacy Building, Kew Cottages)

11.15am Andrew McIntosh MP for Kew
11.45am Boroondara Resident Action Group (BRAG)

1.15pm Cr. Phillip Healey, Mayor of Boroondara
2.00pm Kew Cottages Parents Association
2.45pm Kew Cottages Coalition 

Click here for full details on Select Committee on Public Land Development website

or for

Coalition Submission Extracts Only (more..)


An Open letter
 Victoria's New Premier
John Brumby
John Brumby

Wednesday September 12th  2007

Dear Mr. Brumby,

It is now time for a new start at Kew Cottages, time to repair some of the misunderstandings of the past 6 years.

The Parliamentary Public Land Inquiry will convene at Kew Cottages in two weeks time at 10am on 26th September 2007.
Kew Cottages Coalition plans to give evidence at the Public Land Inquiry.  
We would be grateful for the opportunity to meet with you prior to this inquiry to help find the best solutions for Kew Cottages - the best solution for Victoria's intellectually disabled, the best solution for our environment, and the best solution for the wider Victorian community.
We realise you are very busy, but would be most grateful if you could find time in your schedule to meet with key members of the Kew Cottages Coalition to discuss these issues?
We look forward to your reply

Yours sincerely,

Brian Walsh

Kew Cottages Coalition
E. admin@kew.org.au



Friday July 27th  2007

Steve Bracks

Steve Bracks quits: is the pressure too much?

By Kate Lahey and Simon Mossman

Article from: AAP

  • Steve Bracks quitting is 'good for my family'
  • Are politicians under too much work pressure?
VICTORIAN Treasurer John Brumby is set to become the state's next premier after today's stunning double resignation of Steve Bracks and his deputy John Thwaites.

Mr Bracks shocked his colleagues and the community by resigning after eight years as premier, saying he no longer had the commitment to stay in politics.

Related story Drink-driving shock: Bracks quits for more family time »
Gallery In pictures: The life and times of Premier Steve Bracks »
Related story Timeline: Chart the rise of the surprise premier »
Blogs Blogocracy: A double beneficiary of Kennett legacy »
Video Video: Premier's shock announcement: It is time to go »
Video Herald Sun video: Shock on the streets of Melbourne »

Within hours, deputy premier John Thwaites followed Mr Bracks out of politics, setting Victoria up for a major government overhaul.



Friday May 4th  2007
6 Years On
Bracks has promoted his private housing estate vision for Kew Cottages as a  'Project of State Significance', but it has turned into a public disgrace.
Bracks Trojan House @ Kew
Bracks promised the Intellectually Disabled 20 New Houses at Kew Cottages by 2006 - this was the result:

Bracks Trojan Horse
Main Drive Kew

Help Protect Victoria
Public Land Sharks

An Open letter
to the
Premier of Victoria

Dear Premier,

On this day, the 4th of May, in 2001 you announced,.. " the $100m land and residential development of the century-old institution formerly known as Kew Cottages.."

However, today, six years later, your proposed re-development has become mired in controversy, and a great embarrassment to Victoria.

The 20 special houses you promised at Kew Cottages for intellectually disabled Victorians have not been built.

The State Heritage status of the century-old institution appears to have been actively undermined by public officials acting on your behalf at Kew Cottages.

Victorian Planning and Environment controls and conditions also appear to have been repeatedly and consistently either ignored or frustrated by public officials acting on your behalf at Kew Cottages.

Now, your own name has been linked in the media (The Age 30/3) to that of a lobbyist reported to act for two NSW based developers, both of whom have a multi-million dollar interest in Kew Cottages, namely the former ALP Senator Graham Richardson.

As you are aware, the above concerns regarding Kew Cottages were fundamental to this week's Upper House decision (2/5) to appoint a Special Committee to inquire into the sale of Public Land for Development in Victoria.

I write now, therefore, to seek a personal assurance from you that as Premier of Victoria:

1) You will fully and publicly support the work of the Upper House Inquiry into the sale of Public Land for Development;

2) Make a full and candid explanation to Parliament regarding all meetings and contacts with
Mr. Graham, Richardson by yourself, your Ministers, advisers, and staff, regarding Kew Cottages and associated matters;

3) Not permit your Government's practices or procedures to preempt, prejudice, or otherwise interfere with the work of this historic Upper House Inquiry;

And to the latter end that you will immediately:

a) Place a moratorium on Government approval of the proposed Walker Corporation Kew Cottages 'sale' to Mirvac, until that matter has been adequately and comprehensively reviewed by the Inquiry;

b) Place a moratorium on all development of public land at Kew Cottages until that matter has been adequately and comprehensively reviewed by the Inquiry;

c) Encourage as appropriate all members of your Government, their staff, and all Government employees, to make full and frank disclosures to the Upper House Inquiry regarding the sale and development of public land in Victoria, particularly regarding any improper dealings with groups or individuals representing private developers, or their agents, such as the extraordinary behind the scenes lobbying activities of  Brian Burke, as reported in this week's  ABC Four Corners program, "The Dark Arts". (Broadcast: 30/04/2007)

Finally, that you will do all in your power to protect Victoria from Public Land Sharks, and bring the State's level of protection against corruption in public land sales up to the same level as that now available in other States including NSW, Queensland, and WA.

Please acknowledge and respond to this letter as a matter of urgency, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any additional information.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Walsh

Kew Cottages Coalition

The Story So Far......

Thursday May 3rd  2007

Inquiry Launched...The Age p7 3r/5/07

Wednesday May 2nd 2007

Parliamentary Probe into Public Land Sales
Green Light

Bracks attempts to prevent Parliamentary scrutiny of how his Government conducts Public Land Sales in Victoria turned to farce today at Spring Street.

Mr. Viney, a senior Government member from Eastern Victoria attempted to throw cold water on the proposed new Inquiry by suggesting it was just not necessary.  Victoria had never had such an inquiry before, and therefore, did not need one now.

Mr. Viney, therefore, proposed an amendment whereby public complaints about the controversial $400 million Kew Cottages private development would be best referred, not to a new inquiry, but instead to one of the Parliament's long standing and hard working Joint Committees.

With an icy sense of Siberian humour, Viney suggested the  Upper House "Outer Suburban/Interface Services and Development Committee" as the appropriate resting place for the proposed inquiry  :-)

Was Viney just being facetious ? Apparently not, as he charmingly conceded  the Victoria had elected a 'House of Review', at the last election that was no longer controlled by the Bracks Government...

"....Members opposite have 21 votes,
the government has 19. They can establish a select
committee at any point once they get all the numbers
together. This does not close off that option. What I am
saying is that this is a proper and appropriate process. If
members opposite are unhappy with the investigations
of the joint committee — and I do not believe they will
be because in my experience joint committees take their
responsibilities very seriously — in three or six months
they can establish a select committee..... "
Hansard, Parliament of Victoria 2.5/2007

The Non-government Parties remained unconvinced, and combined to first defeat the Government's amendments, and then voted to establish a new Select Committee to conduct the Inquiry.

So was Viney being disingenuous in his attempt to 'buy time', by at least delaying the inevitable for 'three or six months' ? The latter would be consistent with Bracks track record to date at Kew Cottages.

A week is a long time in politics. All else being equal, giving the Government's spin doctors, legal eagles, and bulldozer drivers three months head start over Victoria's environmental and resident action groups could have helped save the Government a lot of embarrassment.

Such a delay would also have helped leave the way open long enough for Government approval of the proposed deal between Walker Corporation and Mirvac at Kew Cottages. A deal, that according to the Age (29/3/07) would deliver $11 million to Walker Corporation, 'merely for selling rights to the site.' (More..)

Tuesday May 1st 2007

The Inquiry we have to have...

Tomorrow, May 2nd, the Upper House of the Victorian State Parliament will finally debate whether to establish an Inquiry into Public Land Sales in Victoria, including the controversial $400 million Kew Cottages Development.

The motion by the Shadow Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy calls for the establishment of an Upper House Select Committee of 7 Members to be appointed to inquire into -

(a) the sale or alienation of public land for development;

(b) the sale or alienation of public open space for the purposes of private development; and

(c) the sale and development of public land and the relationship to the Melbourne 2030 policy and Green Wedges.

Importantly the proposed Inquiry would get underway almost immediately with the 7 Members (2 LIB, 2 ALP, 1 NAT, 1Green, 1DLP) appointed by the end of the week, and the first Committee meeting would be no later than 21st May. (More..)

See Legislative Council Notice Paper 15 1st May 2007



The essential and immediate purpose of the proposed Inquiry must be to first  inform the Committee on matters of possible misconduct by public officials or those improperly seeking to influence public officials engaged in Victorian Public Land sales projects such as Kew Cottages . As Dr. E Cunningham Dax, AO, a former Chairman of the Victorian Mental Health Authority, has argued:

...Such an Enquiry would identify the persons connected directly or indirectly with the building organizations who are erecting the houses or have a financial interest in the destruction of the hospitals and the sale of their lands. It would also discover what has happened to the large amount of money obtained in this way. (more..)

The Bracks Government may seek to ignore the recommendations of such an ' all party' Committee, of the Upper House, or even go so far as to seek to restrict the funds  and resources available to the proposed Inquiry. Such possibilities, however, have not unduly undermined the important role provided by other Houses of Review Committees in the past.

Senate Committees, for example, at the Federal Government level have historically had an important role to play in "shedding light in dark corners.." As the Federal Parliament's  Briefing Note on its Senate Select Committees explains:

Select committees

A select committee is created as required to inquire into and report upon a particular matter. It may be established at any time by a resolution of the Senate which will specify the committee’s composition, terms of reference and powers. A select committee has a limited life and ceases to exist when the time allocated for it to do its work expires and it presents its final report.

Select committees often inquire into controversial or politically sensitive matters. Examples of matters examined by select committees in recent times include the Lucas Heights reactor contract, uranium mining and milling, the new tax system, Medicare, ministerial discretion in migration matters, and the administration of Indigenous affairs.

Where a particular policy area is considered to merit continuous review, a select committee may have an extended life. A notable example is the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation, which was first appointed in 1991. The longest running select committee in the history of the Senate, the committee was reappointed successively, with slight name changes but with the same functions and powers, over a 12-year period . Before ceasing operation on 10 September 2003 when its final report was tabled, the ‘Super’ select committee tabled 58 reports and background papers on a range of superannuation and related matters. (more..)


Monday April  30th 2007

This week marks the sixth anniversary of Bracks May 4th 2001 promise to redevelop the 27 hectares of Crown Lands surrounding Kew Cottages on behalf of Victoria's intellectually disabled.

Bracks has failed to deliver on that promise, and after six years its time for Victoria to start insisting on answers to some hard questions:

  • Bracks promised to build 20 new houses for the intellectually disabled at the Cottages by 2006. So why have the special houses still not been built for the disabled ?

  • Bracks agents undertook to abide by all State Heritage and Environment Planning guidelines. So why has a full environmental impact assessment still not been completed ?

  • Bracks has refused to say when he last met ALP powerbroker  Graham Richardson despite Opposition demands that he do so. So what is the connection between Bracks, Richardson, and the two Sydney developers who now appear to be poised to make millions from the Melbourne sale of 27 hectares of public land adjoining Yarra Bend Park?

  • Victoria is not alone in facing the challenge posed by multi million dollar development proposals, fueled by big profits, and behind the scenes lobbying.  So why has Victoria failed to establish its own independent anti-corruption commission like those that already exist in other States facing this insidious challenge including  NSW, Queensland, and WA ?

"The Dark Arts..."
An emerging pattern  across Australia.. ?

This week's ABC  Four Corners reports that the WA Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC)  investigations into the extraordinary behind the scenes lobbying activities of Brian Burke began with Burke's lobbying for a multi million dollar beachfront development  for Smiths Beach south of Perth.

"...the CCC. is yet to issue a finding or to lay a charge, but its celebrated public hearings have machine-gunned the political landscape, causing the demise of three state ministers and three ministerial chiefs of staff, the resignation of a federal minister and serious embarrassment for federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd." (more..)

Labor shelves Inquiry
Ashley Gardiner
Herald Sun
Monday April 2nd 2007

A POTENTIALLY embarrassing inquiry into political lobbying in Victoria has been shelved, despite being a promise at the last election....

Last week it was revealed that former federal Labor heavyweight Graham Richardson was lobbying for property developers with an interest in the Kew Cottages site...

Herald Sun Monday 2nd April 2007


Comment 1.

Surprise... surprise...

Premier Steve Bracks appears to have some problems remembering the last time he met Walker Corporation lobbyist Graham Richardson.

Hopefully the diary and Hansard entries of his colleague, Paul Lennon, Premier of Tasmania, will help Bracksie recall when he last met Richo himself....

Premier Lennon not only remembers his own meetings with Graham Richardson - he remembers the day  when Richo brought Mr. Lang Walker with him ... 

Thursday 29th April 2004...

As the Premier told the Tasmanian Parliamen
t at the time:

Mr  LENNON  - I can however confirm that Graham Richardson  did come to see me last Thursday and he was accompanied at that meeting by Mr Lang Walker -

Mr McKim - Lang Walker was there?

Mr LENNON - Yes, he was here, with another representative of that corporation. A meeting was requested some weeks ago and I agreed to the meeting.

The member asked whether my colleague, the Minister for Environment and Planning, was present at the meeting. She was unable to attend the meeting but a representative from her office was there.

Hansard Wednesday 5 May 2004
Parliament of Tasmania



Silence on Richo

Silence on Richo
The Age  30th March 2007, p.4 "In Brief" (see above)

Plus See also:

Richos tax gag appeal rejected
Sydney Morning Herald 12th Mach 2007

Greens Accuse Tas Government after

."... Lennon Confirms Meeting With Lang Walker and Richo"


Gee, thanks Lang, mate

Tasmanian Times


Comment 2.
Before the Government gives its approval to any deals or land sales . An urgent Upper House State Parliamentary inquiry is necessary to:

  1. Unravel all the serious planning and environment irregularities that have occurred in the Kew Cottages Crown Land development next to Yarra Bend Park;
  2. Critically examine the secret details of the proposed Walker Corporation 'sale' to Mirvac;
  3. Investigate whether any Government Ministers or their staff have acted improperly in the Kew Cottages Affair.

Royce Millar's
Front Page Story
The Age
Wed Mar 28 2007
'Richo'  on board cottages project
'Richo' on board cottages project' (Click here for Hardcopy Version)

Or Read Online Version at:


Today's revelations about Graham Richardson's lobbying on the State Government Kew Cottages Development add urgency to the Kew Cottages Coalition's call last month for a Parliamentary inquiry into this dodgy land deal at Kew.

  • Kew Cottages is still State Heritage listed Public land.
  • A full environmental impact study of the proposed development has never been finished.
  • Not one of the 20 special houses promised for the intellectually disabled has yet been completed.

Before the Government gives its approval to any deals or land sales . An urgent Parliamentary inquiry is necessary to:

  1. Unravel all the serious planning irregularities that have occurred in this secret development to date;
  2. Critically examine the secret details of the proposed Walker Corporation 'sale' to Mirvac.

Kew Public Meeting
Tuesday 30th Jan 2007

Summary of


Stop the Crown Land Sharks !
Kew Cottages
Kew Residential Services

MC Rod Quantock*

7.45pm Tuesday 30th January 2007
Phyllis Hore Room
Kew Civic Centre
Cnr Cotham Road and Charles Street

Topics for discussion:

  • Why the Victorian Ombudsman is to inquire into Government failure to protect these Crown Lands adjoining Yarra Bend Park ?

  • Why a Parliamentary Inquiry into Public Land Sales is also now possible following the recent State Election ?

  • How you can help turn the current Kew Cottages development from a public disgrace into a public asset that Victoria can be proud of ?

C. Game, A. Garton, C. Masters, & T. Michael,


Monday 10th July 2006

Melbourne Channel 10 TV News Reports

"Yarra Bend Park May Now Be Under Threat"
Deadly Tree Disease
Kew Cottages

View  Windows Media 
wmv video file (1min39s):
mp3 file

(Archive ..)
Bracks Government Cover up on
Threat to Yarra ?

Tuesday 14th March 2006

Brian Walsh tells the ABC's 774, Jon Faine, he is astounded that the Government now claims it was unaware of the discovery of the fungus at Kew Cottages. Walsh says the Government claim is nonsense, "our information is that they have known for weeks.. " (see below)

Listen to the full Interview mp3 audio (2min 34s): mp3 file

Herald Sun 14.3.2006 p.31

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