Constance lands Baird in hot water againOn 01/31/2019 by admin
NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance has again landed the Baird government in hot water after saying 16,000 new homes could be built in Sydney’s inner harbour.
Architects and planners from around the world are attending The Bays Precinct International Summit this week to brainstorm ideas for revitalising areas including the Sydney Fish Market and Rozelle Bay.
But the summit has been overshadowed by Mr Constance’s claim that the revitalisation was “expected” to create approximately 16,000 dwellings for NSW.
The comment has prompted the local mayor to slam the summit as a “sham” and forced Planning Minister Pru Goward to publicly dismiss Mr Constance’s claim.
“We have a blank canvas – there is no target, there is no number,” she said.
“I am the planning minister and the premier and I have made it very clear that we are starting from scratch.”
This is the second major slip-up by the inexperienced treasurer who was promoted to the role in April after Mr Baird’s cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Constance last month told a business event that local government was “terrible” and that Sydney should have “five councils at best”.
The comment came at a sensitive time in the government’s push to convince councils to amalgamate and prompted Premier Mike Baird to distance himself from Mr Constance.
Mr Baird again sought to put space between himself and the treasurer on Wednesday, telling summit attendees they had a “complete and utter blank canvas”.
Labor’s planning spokesman Luke Foley said Mr Constance’s latest faux pas showed he was not on top of his brief.
“I suspect Mike Baird is going to have to carry his treasurer through the (March) election campaign,” he said.
Greens MP Jamie Parker, whose seat takes in much of the Bays Precinct, accused the government of planning the biggest privatisation of waterfront land in NSW history.
Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous, also from the Greens, said the government’s revitalisation process was a “sham”.
A spokesman for Mr Constance denied the treasurer was referring to a housing target but that he was instead generally speaking about the potential for the site.
Mr Baird has described the Bays Precinct, which is four times the size of the CBD’s Barangaroo, as an “urban wasteland” and says he wants to see new housing, areas for recreation, shops and offices introduced into the area.