COMMUNITY ACTION ALLIANCE FOR NSW (CAAN) …
OBVIOUSLY there needs to be a “stop” to all political donations!
No apartment living for HT … he lives on the Waterfront surrounded by trees on large grounds at Vaucluse with a wharf thrown in!
COULD it have been HT who influenced PM John Howard in the late 1990s to introduce the changes to our immigration policy for the Chinese middle class to embrace the offer of “flexible citizenship” in return for investing in property and education? (Visa manipulation … )
–HT called for a big increase in immigration; for a Sydney population of 20 million; for 150 million for Australia
The Roseville block for which Triguboff paid £4025 in 1960, when he was 27. Photo: Supplied
IT’S simple, says Harry Triguboff. Sydney has too much green and not enough grey, and if you want to look at trees – well, go climb a mountain.
The views of the Meriton boss, Australia’s biggest property developer, are likely to outrage conservationists – particularly his declaration that Sydney has “too many forests and parks”.
“You go north and we have all these reserves and you go south and you have all the reserves, and they are the best part of the coast. That is crazy. We should be building on this area,” he said.
“If they want to see trees, they can go to Katoomba, there are plenty of trees there.”
In an interview with the Herald, Mr Triguboff said there was too much focus by the Prime Minister, John Howard, and others on land releases on Sydney’s outskirts, and that too much land was locked up in national parks and reserves.
He also called for a big increase in immigration, saying the population of Sydney should be 20 million by 2050, with the population of Australia 150 million.
And he has dismissed proposals for values and language tests for immigrants, saying: “What’s more important for me – a guy who can fix my tap or a guy who can speak English?”.
*Mr Triguboff’s comments come a week after he told a Liberal Party fund-raiser attended by Mr Howard that interest rates had to drop for the economy to improve.
*The 73-year-old – who is one of the 10 richest people in Australia and whose company has built 55,000 apartments – also gave a rare insight during the interview into the level of influence he had with the former premier, Bob Carr.
He said he spoke far more to Mr Carr than he does to his successor, Morris Iemma, and convinced him to change laws concerning owners’ corporations to stop rogue elements in body corporates engaging lawyers and consultants without a proper vote.
*He said that about three years ago he convinced Mr Carr there should be more development in Sydney, saying Mr Carr would have more than $1 billion in stamp duty if councils approved developments on all of Meriton’s land.
“He was telling openly he saw me more than he saw cabinet ministers. That doesn’t mean he did what I told him but he knew [my] story very well,” Mr Triguboff said.
“This is the way it works, you have a minister of planning and then sometimes you’re not happy with what he does and you go to Carr … and you say ‘listen, this is the position’.
“So what Carr would do, Carr would get [the then planning minister Craig] Knowles there with me and sometimes, maybe, he would talk Knowles into doing something. … You go to [Frank] Sartor and he says he won’t do it and you go to Iemma and he says ‘I can’t do anything either because he has to do it’. So this is where you get the styles of the two men.”
Mr Triguboff said he believed Mr Sartor would be of a mind as a planning minister to approve more apartment developments.
The developer said he believed he had never received any benefit from political donations he gave either major party, saying: “Probably, if I give it to them, they can’t tell me that I am their enemy. That I think is the main thing.”
Mr Triguboff blamed newspapers and analysts for making the housing slump worse by talking down the market, and said he had never seen such a gradual slump in prices, which had gone down slowly “over 4½ years”.
He conceded that people who bought his units in 2002 or 2003 would have lost some money if they sold now. But he believed matters would turn around soon.
Mr Triguboff said he was making half the profit he made four years ago because of the slump but was making $2 million a week from rents, because he was renting out more apartments.
He said the State Government needed to reduce stamp duty.
On Mr Howard’s calls for NSW to release more land, he said: “Release more national parks. Don’t release more [land] in the desert.”
You heard it from him
If they want to see trees, they can go to Katoomba. There are plenty of trees there.
On language tests for migrants:
What’s more important for me?
A guy who can fix my tap or a guy who can speak English?
On Bob Carr:
He was telling openly he saw me more than he saw cabinet ministers. That doesn’t mean he did what I told him but he knew [my] story very well.
On political donations:
If I give it to them they can’t tell me I am their enemy.
On PM’s calls for NSW to release more land:
Release more national parks. Don’t release more [land in] the desert.