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«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»

-- [ Page 28 ] --

Now, let’s face it, if it doesn’t go ahead all those piers at Walsh Bay will just collapse into the harbour … Now, I can assure you I’ve seen the detail of this and it’s to my eternal shame that I hadn’t looked at it all earlier. A magnificent project … It’s going to be two theatres, restaurants, walkways, the lot.692 ♦ Mr Jones used the media fact sheet.

For instance, the media fact sheet provides:

This is the last opportunity for the Government to inject life into Walsh Bay and if this current proposal doesn’t go ahead, the future of Walsh Bay is very grim. Work needs to commence at Walsh Bay urgently as Howard Tanner of the Heritage Council said recently, ‘The whole place is falling down. The decay is obvious. The wharves are falling into the sea.’693 The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Jones presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and Walsh Bay Finance.

The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.

–  –  –



Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 22 July 1998 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

Look, developers get nothing but criticism thrown at them. I have to say, who would be a developer? You’ve got Mirvac and Transfield with an absolutely phenomenal proposal to redevelop what is an absolute mess at Walsh Bay. You know that Walsh Bay area? It’s there where you drive around the back of the city. If you’re coming into the city around the back, you then go under the Harbour Bridge and the magnificent Park Hyatt would be on your left.

Well, all that area, as you know, there is an absolute eyesore, both on the water and off the water. And Mirvac and Transfield – who must be the world’ number one dopes for even bothering because I don’t think we deserve their initiative – they’ve put forward this fantastic proposal. I mean, it is unbelievable. Trust me! Because you’ve heard me go on about the East Circular Quay from day one, and I said that was an eyesore, and I don’t get any pleasure in saying I was right. I’m telling you, this proposal is fantastic.

The Heritage Council, Sydney City Council, Central Sydney Planning Committee, the local residents, all recommended the approval of what they call ‘the master plan design’. And indeed, the government, to be fair to them, got in – they thought, well, look, we’ve been bitten on the East Circular Quay thin; we’d better get someone in. They got the world renowned French architect, Phillip Robert, brought in by the government to cast his eye over the proposal. He gave it the thumbs up.

Well, enter the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, via some bureaucrat who’s new to the job, most probably doesn’t know much about all this, and suddenly she’s got to say, oh, well, I’m not going to be run over by developers. I’ve just got to make changes to this, just so that they know I have the final say.

So, what the experts have endorsed has now been changed. Three of the four commercial office buildings have been reduced in height. Piers six and seven, which is the new residential pier, has been reduced in width and lowered, so that’s a loss of floor space. That adds significantly to the cost and complexity of the construction. Poor old developer.

Shore sheds two, three, four and five originally were to be rebuilt. They were eyesores. You should see them, absolute eyesores. They were to be new residential apartments. Now she wants them – this is some bureaucrat – retained and restored, which means there’s no commercial value in them. And of the remaining buildings in the scheme – a magnificent project – five were amended in varying ways.

Now, of course, this has an adverse financial effect on the whole project. I hope that the developers don’t say, well, go and bite your backside. That’s what I’d say.

Now, Bob Carr, you and the team have got to decide whether you want this to go ahead or not.

It’s absolutely essential that government – that’s Bob Carr and others – get together and support what is a magnificent restoration project.

Now, let me tell you, this is no East Circular Quay. I opposed that. Mess from day one; mess it is today! If you need to see something that is going to be magnificent for Sydney, have a look at this Walsh Bay development. And I see today that this Phillip Robert, the bloke that the government brought in, has been apprised of the changes that are now being asked of the project. And he’s an international expert in the re-use of heritage buildings. And he said that in making the developers keep two of the Shore sheds, which is that rotting stuff that’s there, there was a danger that the Bay’s east would become an historic precinct, and the west a contemporary one.

You’ve got this old stuff rotting and protected, and the beautiful new stuff that’s been built – he said there was a risk of dividing the development into two disparate parts. Why has this been allowed?

Craig Knowles and the Premier, and Ron Dyer, are going to have to shake up a few bureaucrats that the government let this magnificent proposal slip. They’ll find just as much criticism directed at them as they’ve had to endure for letting East Circular Quay go ahead. 694 The Panel’s Findings The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on political, social and economic issues of relevance to the community.

The existence of Mr Jones’ agreement with Walsh Bay Finance was not disclosed in the broadcast. The Panel finds the available fact of Mr Jones’ commercial relationship with Walsh Bay Finance was withheld during broadcast.

The Panel finds that this available fact was relevant because:

♦ the broadcast was favourable to Walsh Bay Finance. Mr Jones praised the proposed development at Walsh Bay saying, ‘I’m telling you, this proposal is fantastic’.695 The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Jones presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and Walsh Bay Finance.

The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.


Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 21 August 1998 Mr Jones broadcast the following:

The spectacle of the East Circular Quay still haunts every government wanting to make a decision about sensitive parts of Sydney’s foreshore. Let me tell you, I think the Carr Government is going to get it right, and right in a big way, today. Because Bob Carr will be announcing the redevelopment of Walsh Bay.

Now, Walsh Bay is that area, to describe it I suppose, virtually opposite Luna Park. If you come around the back of Sydney, along Hickson Road, and come underneath the Harbour Bridge and you keep on your left the Park Hyatt Hotel’s on your left, well, I think you know where I’m talking about. Pier One, and that’s that whole area there is Walsh Bay.

–  –  –

It’s been largely unused and unmaintained for about 30 years. It’s an eyesore. It’s in an appalling state. Fire, rot, decay, extensive termite infestation have just ravaged the wharves.

Up to 80% of the timbers are severely damaged in many areas.

Well, the Director General of the Department of Planning and Urban Affairs – a new lady, Sue Holliday - has now given the okay for the Walsh Bay Partnership’s what’s called ‘Master Plan Development’. The Premier will go into some detail about this today. It’s going to be an enormous facility. I’ve looked at this in detail, and I think it is a magnificent, integrated embellishment of what is a very forlorn but significantly historic area.

It’s now got the approval from the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning who put the whole proposal under the microscope. It’s supported by the Heritage Council; it’s supported by the residents; by the Central Sydney Planning Committee; by the Sydney City Council.

And the State Government, just to be absolutely sure, brought in the man who’s allegedly in the vanguard of architects around the world, a Frenchman, Phillippe Robert, who’s given it the very big thumbs up.

Big money! It’s $650 million. It’ll start early next year. It’s planned to finish by the year

2003. Five hundred jobs in construction, 2,000 jobs when it’s operative, and there’ll be theatres, commercial space, public spaces, parks, apartments, townhouses, restaurants, and the development on both sides of the road which is currently an untidy eyesore.

As the Premier has said, it’s a win for jobs, a win for heritage, and a win for a little-known area of Sydney’s foreshore. Premier Carr’s on the line.

Good morning. This has really been subjected to tremendous scrutiny, hasn’t it?

PREMIER Mr CARR: There couldn’t have been more scrutiny than this. It’s been past every heritage body in the State. There’s been enormous consultation with the residents. One of them said they’ve never encountered a developer that’s been more inclined to consult the locals. And we’ve got a really fine development. This redevelops a derelict area roughly between The Rocks… MR JONES: Well, it’s an eyesore, isn’t it?

MR CARR: …an eyesore, a derelict area, not serving the interest of the city, and not generating jobs. It redevelops a whole swathe of harbour foreshore between The Rocks and Darling Harbour.

MR JONES: Can we just go back away from the foreshore. And just to put it simply, now, Pier One will stay. If we’re going backwards now, going west, Pier One will stay. That’s going to be made into a hotel, isn’t it?

MR CARR: Yeah, that’s not touched by this proposal.

MR JONES: That’s not touched. Then you’ve got Piers Two and Three?

MR CARR: Yeah, this is where the redevelopment begins. You’ve got Wharf Two and Three;

Wharf Four and Five.

MR JONES: Two and Three, two floors of that, that’s for public use?

–  –  –

MR JONES: And then Four and Five, that’s where the theatre company is now?

MR CARR: Yes, that’s right. And if you want an idea of what three of these wharves look like, what you can do with restoration, think about the Sydney Theatre Company and how that wharf with its ancient timbers has been restored to modern use. This is adaptive reuse of heritage structures.

MR JONES: Yes, indeed. Just go back again, and we’ll come back to the detail. I just want to – in the eyes of my listeners, we’re then going backwards, going west again. So, Four and Five is the existing theatre company. That stays, but millions is going to be poured into that to embellish it and refurbish it. And then Six and Seven, going further back, will be new apartments, won’t they?

MR CARR: Yes, that’s right.

MR JONES: But only the same height as the theatre company building?

MR CARR: Yes, it’s within that same envelope, in the existing envelope.

MR JONES: And then Eight and Nine, going further back, for office use?

MR CARR: That’s right.

MR JONES: And then you go over the road and up the hill.

MR CARR: Yes, but bear in mind the Shore Sheds… MR JONES: Oh, yeah, wonderful.

MR CARR: …the original plans were to be demolished, are being restored, up in that northern end.


MR CARR: And that’s going to house an interpretive centre, so that people can see the machinery and explore the heritage of what was a fantastically important area economically for our State.

MR JONES: So you’re going to restore the industrial maritime machinery and put it on display?

MR CARR: That’s right. There is held in those wharves some very old machinery that tells the story… MR JONES: Brilliant!

MR CARR: …of the shipping industry… MR JONES: That’s brilliant!

MR CARR: …and the importance of these in getting Australian exports out.


MR CARR: …and bringing in immigrant peoples.

MR JONES: Well, that was what the sheds were – that was the historical thing about the Bond Stores, wasn’t it? That was where, in the old days, the Bond Stores, the duty-free stuff came in, and it was kept there until you got clearance.

But the thing is that the nature of the wharves, was, Premier, was it not, that we weren’t the public weren’t allowed in, because there were goods there that had to be protected? This whole development now lets the public into that whole foreshore area.

MR CARR: Yes, it does, so you get a walkway around all these wharves and along the shore, in the curve of the Shore Sheds. That means that you’ll be able to walk from Woolloomooloo right around our harbour and through this area for the first time… MR JONES: Absolutely beautiful.

MR CARR: …Around to Millers Point. Now, that is a huge gain, but when you look at the jobs – you mentioned 2,000 jobs when it’s finished, 500 jobs in construction – the significance of this is very important. As the Olympics wind down, as the major projects at Homebush Bay are completed, it’s sometimes asked what will we do to pick up the slack…

MR JONES: Jobs, yes.

MR CARR: …so this comes into place as the Olympics wind down, and that’s a powerful message of job security for a lot of families in New South Wales. A clutch of construction jobs, and then 2,000 permanent jobs added to the stock of jobs that our city provides. And it stands, in my view, with the M5 extension, with the Fox Studios, and probably the ParramattaChatswood rail link, as one of the major projects that will take up the slack in the economy as the Olympics winds down.

MR JONES: Right. Just on your promenade which will be open to the public for the first time, where you can virtually walk from the piers there, Walsh Bay, right round to Woolloomooloo.

And that of course will be lined with cafes and shops and access to the water, and all that sort of stuff, won’t it?

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