ICAC – Local Govt. Minister: Please Finish The Job!

ICAC Appearance, Craig Bauman Port Stephens MP – Ex PSC Mayor and Councillor

Thank you Peter Lewis, you have nailed it again! – Newcastle Herald Cartoon Gallery -13 September 2014

The Cross Bench

TRRA Inc. is deeply concerned at further revelations of questionable behaviour by our elected Parliamentary Representatives Mr Bauman and Mr Baldwin at the ICAC hearings on Friday and previously.

The inquiry’s terms of reference were specifically widened to include whether Mr Baumann and his accountant made false declarations and created sham invoices  to conceal donations totaling $79,000.00 from Mr Jeff McCloy, former Lord Mayor of Newcastle and another developer, Hilton Grugeon both of whom were involved in the proposed Wallalong Urban Development. Mr Bauman was the Mayor on Port Stephens Council some of the time and later when elected to parliament, became the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development.

The ICAC also heard that Mr. Baumann’s accountant donated $100,000 to his 2011 campaign as payment for a house built for him by the politician’s company Valley homes, which meant tax wasn’t paid on the amount.

This has resulted in Mr Bauman resigning from the Liberal Party, and his position as Parliamentary Secretary. He has now moved to the cross-benches.

Mr Bauman served on Port Stephens Council from 1981 – 2008, was appointed Emeritus Mayor, a Freeman of Port Stephens and was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal in 2001 for his services to Local Government.

Evidence tendered in the ICAC shows that during his time on Council and in Government he had close personal and business relationships with the directors of development company Buildev Pty Ltd, major developers Hilton Grugeon, and Former Lord Mayor of Newcastle Jeff McCloy, all of whom have been adversely affected by their appearances at ICAC. Mr Bauman is an active developer in his own right through his ownership of building companies Valley Homes and Jones homes.

Some of the emails presented in the exhibits (available on the ICAC website at Transcript and Exibits Warning very Large File!) make interesting reading, in one exchange in particular Mr. Bauman is doing the numbers for Darren Williams (Buildev) on the likely result of a DA before a Council meeting, and the Fedreral Member Mr Bob Baldwin even gets involved in relation to Clr Sally Dover “Baldwin will firm her up,” Story Newcastle Herald September 14 2014: ICAC: BOB Baldwins Role Queried

We will have to wait until January 2015 for the Commission to bring down its findings on this part of its investigation, but it is alleged that many of the people named have been involved in circumventing the 2009 laws preventing prohibited donors from development companies, and the liquor and the gambling industries, from trying to influence politicians and parties with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

TRRA Inc. notes that one of the things missed by a lot of commentators is the allegation that most of these transactions are not only motivated by a desire to influence political outcomes but also have tax implications, usually involving ‘sham’ invoices. We hope that this will stimulate the interest of not only the Electoral Funding Authority, but the Tax Department Investigators as well. These matters and lying to the Commission (5 years) are potentially serious criminal offences and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if proved, particularly given that these people were in a position of public trust, that they make the laws, and are supposed to make sure that those laws are complied with.

TRRA Inc. calls again for this enquiry to finish the job it started and flush out ALL the corruption that has been revealed in the ICAC exhibits and transcripts and recommend prosecution of all those involved. The investigation should obviously be extended into the activities of the Port Stephens Council uncovered in the evidence presented, and the admissions made during the cross-examination, covering the involvement of Buildev and the Councillors named.

Port Stephens Council Involvement

Port Stephens Council Staff and Councillors have been directly involved with the activities of Buildev Pty Ltd from its early interference with the Medowie Local Area Plan in 2005 through their failed Boundary Road proposal, the controversial Medowie Woolworths development in 2012, the aborted Nathan Tinkler/Buildev plan for the Salamander Shopping Centre land and the now failed Castle Quarry Products/Buildev tender for the Councils $24 Mil Cabbage Tree Road sand extraction project. The interference of the Mayor in this tender process against the recommendation of Council staff requires further independent investigation.

Allegations about the Councils handling of the Wallalong landowners Group, again involving major developers McCloy, Grugeon and Sommers and their avoidance of the appropriate fee structures are also contained in the exhibits and Transcripts. This is estimated to have saved them over $700,000.00 alleged in newspaper articles not refuted by Council.

We and the people of Port Stephens are still appalled at the tactics employed in the 2012 Council election by the Mayor and his pro development bloc, to gain power and push through their development agenda against Staff recommendations, flood, fire, defense and State Regulations. The decisions being made are setting enormous precedents and will subject Port Stephens Council to future legal challenges with the resultant cost depriving ratepayers of basic services.

Clr Steve Tucker says that PSC is the most financially healthy Council in the State but we only see the 17 Mil losses in the now defunct Samurai Holiday Resort and the 26 Mil Civil Assets Maintenance backlog in the balance sheet.

TRRA agree with the recent editorial in the Newcastle Herald, and the ‘Stop The Rot’ public meeting in Newcastle that the Port Stephens Council’s election, and the activities of its pro development faction since the election, should be the subject of further independent review. Let’s finish the job that has been started.

In the mean time we call on the Minister For Local Government, The Hon Paul Toole to order the recently appointed General Manager of PSC Mr Wayne Wallace to do an internal review of Council and assure the ratepayers that the practices that were exposed by ICAC are not sill occurring under his watch. Letter to the Minister HERE

Previous Posts: ICAC: Who Is In The Cac At ICAC?     ICAC, Mackenzte & McCloy – Should Property Developers be Mayors Too?

Media: 

All Roads Lead To Buildev! 

Newcastle Herald 10 October: MPs In Donation Rorts Should Face Jail: Review

Newcastle Herald: 07 October: Single Authority Called For To manage Port Stephens Estuary

Newcastle Herald 24 September 2014 : Developer donation ban could be lifted if donation caps were lowered review hears 

Daily telegraph 18 September 2014: Jillian Skinner is on the chopper block over alleged second Buildev helicopter ride 

Daily Telegraph 17 September 2014: Federal MP Bob Baldwin linked with developer Buildev: He sold a block of land to company executive’s wife! 

Newcastle Herald 17 September 2014: Federal Paterson MP Bob Baldwin and Buildev director Darren Williams relationship in the spotlight

Examiner 18 September 2014: “The Corruption Coast” Wendy Zirngast

ICAC Hearings Conclude, September 12 2014: Fallout – Craig Bauman To Crossbench

Newcastle Herald 12 September 2014: ICAC: Port Stephens Craig Baumann quits NSW Liberal Party, apologises over Hilton Grugeon and Jeff McCloy donations

1233 ABC Newcastle 12 September 2014: Baumann stands aside after admitting secret developer donations

ABC News 10 September 2014: Hawkesbury council wants housing proposal at centre of ICAC probe put on hold

The Age September 12 2014: Operation Spicer: From bag men to big man, ICAC shines spotlight on Liberals

The Sydney Morning Herald September 12 2014:  ICAC: Craig Baumann becomes 10th NSW Liberal MP to join crossbench after accusations of taking secret donations

Daily Telegraph 16 September 2014: It’s time for everyone to own their lies 

All Roads Lead To Buildev! Daily Telegraph 17 September 2014: Federal MP Bob Baldwin linked with developer Buildev: He sold a block of land to company executive’s wife! 

Newcastle Herald 17 September 2014: Federal Paterson MP Bob Baldwin and Buildev director Darren Williams relationship in the spotlight

Examiner 18 September 2014: “The Corruption Coast” Wendy Zirngast

Examiner 18 September: ICAC: Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann admits sham invoice but claims “ignorance rather than malicious intent”

O'Farrell,Bauman, Cornwell and Owens

This entry was posted in I.C.A.C. Investigations, Litagation, PORT STEPHENS COUNCIL, STATE GOVERNMENT, What The Papers Said! and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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