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Editions

Deals won’t be revealed

03 Sep 2013

The City of Melbourne is pushing for the public disclosure of Docklands developer agreements but they are unlikely to be revealed.

At a Future Melbourne meeting on August 13 councillors voted unanimously on a motion to request the public disclosure of the deals.

But Places Victoria, the authority responsible for brokering the deals, says the agreements are “commercial in confidence”.

Council does not have access to the confidential agreements, which Councillor Stephen Mayne, who put forward the motion, described at the meeting as a “ridiculous situation,” considering council is increasingly becoming the responsible authority in

Docklands.

Cr Mayne’s motion requested that council contact Places Victoria, the State Government, the State Opposition and major Docklands developers and request all of the state negotiated developer agreements be publicly released by June 30, 2015.

“… it’s [Docklands] bigger than the size of the CBD, where there’s currently been $9 billion of development and there’s going to be $18 billion of development by 2020 and all of the commercial deals around that are secret,” Cr Mayne said.

“As an advocate for transparency, even from the public’s point of view that sounds a bit odd.”

“This has to be a political decision and I think our role is to run the politics and hopefully make it easier for our officers and future councillors to govern and plan at Docklands, with far greater information and contextual knowledge of the history and the drivers and the contracts, which delivered the Docklands that we see unfolding before us today,” Cr Mayne said.

If an agreement for public release of the developer deals isn’t reached council will request that City of Melbourne officers be granted confidential access to the agreements.

Places Victoria Docklands general manager Simon Wilson said the authority was unable to provide information in the agreements that was commercial in confidence, such as how much the developers paid for the land.

“However, Places Victoria has previously provided information pertaining to community infrastructure, public art and the master plans and is happy to provide this again, if required, particularly given there are new councillors,” Mr Wilson said.

 

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