IS IT 'OPEN or SHUT' - WHO GIVES and WHO GETS A GIPA?

 

Reportedly one of City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s many major accomplishments during her years as a State MP was the introduction of legislation seeing changes to Freedom of Information requirements.  And it is thanks to Clover Moore that the Act continues as part of the NSW GIPA Act.

 

In the last known instance of the City of Sydney undertaking action in the NSW Land and Environment Court (LEC), to enforce Zoning Legislation against short-term tourist/visitor rentals, a City of Sydney representative advised that Council had engaged a Senior Counsel to put together their case - the importance of the LEC’s judgement would undoubtedly be a benchmark in the City’s fight against the rampant loss of housing and the “severe amenity issues and impacts on the well being of neighbours”.  This particular case/issue had been with Council for some 3.5 years.  Much in the way of written and verbal evidence was provided, plus residents were assured that senior Council representatives had met on numerous occasions to discuss strategy.  When Council finally took the matter to Court it was reported that the respondent’s solicitor laughed:  “You want a judgment? We’ll not give you the satisfaction.  We’re just agreeing to Orders.”  And so it was:  no MPs or top Lawyers called to Court.

 

Council had much earlier provided documents under a GIPA Search on this particular mater. We have shown where the documents were in turn used by State MPs and a Sydney-based “world’s leading real estate lawyer” with claimed links to Council’s Legal Services Unit, to carry out their threat to “hunt down and sue” fellow resident/owners who worked alongside Council’s Legal Team. Council’s files were available and opened to them…

 

With the NSW Government calling again for Submissions to an Options Paper, plus wanting to understand Council’s arguments in relation to legislation, an Informal Access to Information Request was lodged with the City in early August.  The reply:  “…no submission (including supporting documents) were given to the Land and Environment Court.”  Having made it clear to Council what documentation is sought.  We have received no further reply.

 

To end The Airbnb Contagion seems one invites a Respondent to Court, everyone presents at the Court’s counter, the Respondent pays a $10,000.00 over-the-counter-fine – all’s done and dusted?

 

Who does get to GIVE and RECEIVE when it comes to a GIPA?

 

Homes not Hotels    Communities not Transit Zones    People before Profits    Neighbours not Strangers

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