REUTERS Exclusive: Australia concluded China was behind hack on parliament, political parties – sources   

A man looks at a screen filled with code

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Grovelling to China “the worst thing you can do”

Grovelling to China “the worst thing you can do”

By Houses and Holes in Australian PoliticsChina American Cold War

September 17, 2019 | 7 comments

Recall from Reuters yesterday: (full Transcript below)

Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters…

The report, which also included input from the Department of Foreign Affairs, recommended keeping the findings secret in order to avoid disrupting trade relations with Beijing, two of the people said. The Australian government has not disclosed who it believes was behind the attack or any details of the report.

China’s Foreign Ministry denied involvement in any sort of hacking attacks and said the internet was full of theories that were hard to trace.

Sinocism’s Bill Bishop is succinct:

Comment: My experiences in China are no doubt micro-level but in life and business there one of the worst things you can do is let someone screw you and then do or say nothing about it.

If that is your approach then the other party assumes you are weak relative to them and you will take whatever they want to do to you.

Coral Bell’s iconic “Dependent ally” illustrated how Australia’s history of grovelling and needling its great and powerful friends in Britain and the US had functioned institutionally for a century.

That does not work with the Chinese Communist Party yet it is the only tradition we have…

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/09/grovelling-to-china-the-worst-thing-you-can-do/

Exclusive: Australia concluded China was behind hack on parliament, political parties – sources   

Colin Packham

7 MIN READ

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian intelligence determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties before the general election in May, five people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

Australia’s cyber intelligence agency – the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – concluded in March that China’s Ministry of State Security was responsible for the attack, the five people with direct knowledge of the findings of the investigation told Reuters.

The five sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue. Reuters has not reviewed the classified report.

The report, which also included input from the Department of Foreign Affairs, recommended keeping the findings secret in order to avoid disrupting trade relations with Beijing, two of the people said. The Australian government has not disclosed who it believes was behind the attack or any details of the report.

In response to questions posed by Reuters, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office declined to comment on the attack, the report’s findings or whether Australia had privately raised the hack with China. The ASD also declined to comment.

China’s Foreign Ministry denied involvement in any sort of hacking attacks and said the internet was full of theories that were hard to trace.

“When investigating and determining the nature of online incidents there must be full proof of the facts, otherwise it’s just creating rumors and smearing others, pinning labels on people indiscriminately. We would like to stress that China is also a victim of internet attacks,” the Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“China hopes that Australia can meet China halfway, and do more to benefit mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries.”

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, dominating the purchase of Australian iron ore, coal and agricultural goods, buying more than one-third of the country’s total exports and sending more than a million tourists and students there each year.

Australian authorities felt there was a “very real prospect of damaging the economy” if it were to publicly accuse China over the attack, one of the people said.

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UNHINDERED ACCESS

Australia in February revealed hackers had breached the network of the Australian national parliament. Morrison said at the time that the attack was “sophisticated” and probably carried out by a foreign government. He did not name any government suspected of being involved.  

When the hack was discovered, Australian lawmakers and their staff were told by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to urgently change their passwords, according to a parliamentary statement at the time.

The ASD investigation quickly established that the hackers had also accessed the networks of the ruling Liberal party, its coalition partner the rural-based Nationals, and the opposition Labor party, two of the sources said.

The Labor Party did not respond to a request for comment. One person close to the party said it was informed of the findings, without providing details.

The timing of the attack, three months ahead of Australia’s election, and coming after the cyber-attack on the U.S. Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 U.S. election, had raised concerns of election interference, but there was no indication that information gathered by the hackers was used in any way, one of the sources said.

Morrison and his Liberal-National coalition defied polls to narrowly win the May election, a result Morrison described as a “miracle”.

The attack on the political parties gave the perpetrators access to policy papers on topics such as tax and foreign policy, and private email correspondence between lawmakers, their staff and other citizens, two sources said.

Independent members of parliament and other political parties were not affected, one of those sources said.

Australian investigators found the attacker used code and techniques known to have been used by China in the past, according to the two sources.

Australian intelligence also determined that the country’s political parties were a target of Beijing spying, they added, without specifying any other incidents.

The people declined to specify how the attackers breached network security and said it was unclear when the attack had begun or how long the hackers had access to the networks.  

The attackers used sophisticated techniques to try to conceal their access and their identity, one of the people said, without providing details.

The findings were also shared with at least two allies, the United States and the United Kingdom, said four people familiar with the investigation.

The UK sent a small team of cyber experts to Canberra to help investigate the attack, three of those people said.

The United States and the United Kingdom both declined to comment.

CHINA TIES

Australia has in recent years intensified efforts to address China’s growing influence in Australia, policies that have seen trade with China suffer. 

For instance, in 2017, Canberra banned political donations from overseas and required lobbyists to register any links to foreign governments. A year later, the ASD led Australia’s risk assessment of new 5G technology, which prompted Canberra to effectively ban Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from its nascent 5G network.

While some U.S. officials and diplomats have welcomed such steps by Australia and praise the countries’ strong intelligence relationship, others have been frustrated by Australia’s reluctance to more publicly confront China, according to two U.S. diplomatic sources.  

On a visit to Sydney last month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered thinly veiled criticism of Australia’s approach after Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Canberra would make decisions toward China in based on “our national interest”.

Pompeo said countries could not separate trade and economic issues from national security.

“You can sell your soul for a pile of soybeans, or you can protect your people,” he told reporters at a joint appearance with Payne in Sydney.

Morrison’s office declined to comment on whether the United States had expressed any frustration at Australia for not publicly challenging China over the attack. The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Colin Packham in SYDNEY; Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs and Guy Faulconbridge in LONDON, Christopher Bing in WASHINGTON and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Lincoln Feast and John Mair.Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-china-cyber-exclusive/exclusive-australia-concluded-china-was-behind-hack-on-parliament-political-parties-sources-idUSKBN1W00VF

SECURITY AGENCIES feared state and territory electoral commissions were targeted in cyber attack

AND we are told we should trust these people!

Appalling, and we grapple with the idea that ANY criticism is unwarranted, and xenophobic … you must be kidding … wake up Australia!

Security agencies feared state and territory electoral commissions were targeted in cyber attack

7.30 By Paul Farrell

17 SEPTEMBER 2019

A man looks at a screen filled with code

PHOTO: The major political parties were directly targeted, with personal information compromised. (ABC News)

RELATED STORY: Major parties hit by foreign government hackers in attack on Parliament servers

RELATED STORY: Cyber security breach on Parliament likely a foreign government attack

RELATED STORY: All eyes on China after cyber attack on Australian Parliament

Australia’s security agencies were concerned that state and territory electoral commissions may also have been targeted as part of a cyber attack on federal political parties, according to previously confidential documents obtained by 7.30.

Key points:

  • The cyber attack was revealed in February, with suspicion falling on China
  • The electoral commissions say there is no evidence they were compromised
  • It was publicly announced that the major federal political parties were targeted in the cyber attack

On February 18, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a statement outlining that Australia’s major political parties had been the target of a major cyber attack by what was described as a “sophisticated state actor”.

There was speculation at the time that China was responsible for the attack, and a report this week by Reuters claims that nation was responsible for the breach.

Shortly before Mr Morrison’s public announcement of the attack on political parties, a whole-of-government teleconference led by the Australian Cyber Security Centre — which included representatives from the Australian Signals Directorate, ASIO, the Australian Electoral Commission, state electoral commissions and other federal government agencies — was held to brief agencies on the breach.

Meeting minutes obtained by 7.30 under freedom of information laws from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reveal a rare glimpse of the deliberations in the aftermath of the attack, and provides some insight into the extent to which personal information may have been obtained from the political parties.

An OAIC case officer who attended the teleconference set out a summary of the meeting, and wrote that the attack “directly targeted political parties”. The case officer’s notes also state that “personal information has been compromised” in the breach.

Got a confidential news tip?

“The [Australian Cyber Security Centre] could say that as a result of the DPS [Department of Parliamentary Services] incident, they had seen broader connectivity between various networks and an adversaries (sic) infrastructure, with targets across the major political parties,” the officer wrote.

The notes also state there was “evidence that the ‘adversary’ was communicating with infrastructure”.

They also show that there were fears the attack may also have penetrated state and territory electoral commissions. The meeting minutes by the officer note that the ACSC was “concerned that it is an issue across States and Territories, hence the involvement of the relevant electoral commissions”.

7.30 asked each state and territory electoral agency whether there was any evidence they had been targeted in the attack.

Each responded that there was no evidence that they had been compromised in the breach.

Government talking points about hacking revealed

Other documents released by the OAIC also indicate that Australia’s security agencies may have shifted their view on whether any data had been removed from the parties’ networks.

The meeting minutes note that on the day the breach was announced there was no evidence that personal information had been “exfiltrated”, meaning there was no indication data had been harvested by the hackers.

A version of the whole-of-government talking points released on February 21 says that if asked whether it was possible embarrassing material could be released, to respond: “At this stage there is no evidence of anything being stolen, and our focus is on securing the networks.”

This line was later removed from the talking points.

On February 22, a subsequent version was amended to say: “At this stage it would be premature to comment on an ongoing operational matter.”

Cybersecurity breach

Cybersecurity breach

Agencies are investigating whether China is behind a security breach of the Australian Parliament’s computing network

The incident stoked fears of a foreign influence attempt similar to what occurred in the United States’ 2016 election with the publication of Democratic Party emails linked to a cyber attack by Russia.

Australia’s security agencies have been adamant there is no evidence of an electoral influence attempt of this nature, and no indication that any of the materials held by political parties on their servers have emerged publicly.

The Prime Minister stressed in his statement in February that there was “no evidence of any electoral interference”.

The material obtained by the hackers could be used in a range of more subtle ways for intelligence-gathering purposes.

The OAIC’s case officer wrote in an email to information commissioner Angeleke Falk and deputy commissioner Elizabeth Hampton: “I would note in particular that the information at times seemed slightly ambiguous about what might have been accessed/vulnerable vs what was removed from the various systems.”

Political parties have an exemption under the Privacy Act and are not subject to laws around the handling of personal information.

As a consequence, the OAIC had limited oversight of the data breach, which has been largely left to the security agencies to monitor.

The Australian Signals Directorate declined to comment on the details of the cyber incident, or the claim that China was responsible for the attack. It referred to a response provided by the former directorate general of ASD, Mike Burgess, in April 2019 in Senate Estimates, which said: “A small amount of data taken; none of that was deemed sensitive, but the assessment of that is a matter for the Parliament themselves.”

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-17/security-agencies-feared-electoral-commissions-hacked/11517820

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BELLAMY’s to be bought out by CHINESE Dairy Company for $1.5 Billion

AMAZING, aren’t they!

It didn’t take them long to get the vertical integration in placewhat will be next?

Another local enterprise being predated upon is now captured, and will be consumed


is this in Australia’s interest?


-is this buy out another way of getting around our rules about foreign ownership of our agriculture and agri businesses?

-will this product be subject to the corporate culture of a foreign entity?

will the employment of people in Australia be now subject to foreign edicts, as seen in ‘American Factory’

American Factory’ is a documentary but feels like a horror story from the frontlines of late capitalism 

Frightening, this is but a fraction of their plans, an example of where and what they are up to!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-11/american-factory-documentary-review-netflix-obamas/11496116


Another sad day for Australian industry!

Let’s hope there is more to be said about this, that the FIRB will do something … even if it limits the level of ownership to 50% preferably not allow it!

Should there be a hue and cry over Bellamy sale to foreigners? !!!

Will we be subject to the same old lines like:

-it’s a commercial decision
-it’s about foreign investment and we encourage it

IT sends the wrong signal to the World if on every occasion we complain about the sale of a company in Australia:

-the production is remaining in Australia so there’s little to worry about

-interfering with the sale of businesses could mean our exports could suffer as our trade customers look for alternatives elsewhere

-the money paid for the sale of this company will be invested elsewhere so nothing changes

AND so on but what about:


-future compliance
-future standards
-means of production are no longer in our control
-Australian companies have sold off their base in Australia and have facilitated vertical integration of foreign entities into what is left of our industrial capacity

AND the fact it is another example of the erosion of our corporate ownership, intellectual property and wealth generation.

LONG TERM it is yet another dark day for the Australian economy

-it becomes yet another incremental step in the pulling apart of our sovereignty

-at its heart is an ideological agenda of advancing free market capitalism with a Darwinian belief in the trickle down economy

P.S. The Bellamy’s suitor is associated with a State Owned Enterprise (that is, the Chinese Communist Party). Obviously this acquisition should be blocked, if on no other grounds than unfair trade practices, blocking access then buying the company.

Bellamy’s to be bought out by Chinese dairy company for $1.5 billion

ABC Rural

By Nikolai Beilharz

16 SEPTEMBER 2019

Tins of infant formula sitting on the shelf
Bellamy’s CEO says Mengniu is an “ideal partner”, offering a strong platform for distribution in China. (ABC Rural: Brett Worthington)

Tasmanian-based infant formula company Bellamy’s has recommended shareholders vote in favour of a proposed $1.5 billion takeover by Chinese company Mengniu.

The potential takeover offers a significant 59 per cent premium to the last closing price for Bellamy’s shares. Shares closed on September 13 at $8.32, and the offer from Mengniu is $12.65 per share and a $0.60 dividend per share.

The board of Bellamy’s has unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the offer.

Bellamy’s CEO Andrew Cohen said Mengniu was an “ideal partner” for the business.

“It offers a strong platform for distribution and success in China, and a foundation for growth in the organic dairy and food industry in Australia,” Mr Cohen said.

Mengniu CEO Lu Minfan said the company had growth ambitions for Bellamy’s in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, and pointed to investment in the local dairy industry to ensure there was capacity to expand.

The deal is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Board member John Murphy said he is hopeful that FIRB approval will be granted.

“At this stage we’re in the process with FIRB. We’re having full engagement and are co-operating in that process. It has a way to run, but we’re feeling very positive. We don’t want to get ahead of that process, we’ll let it play through but at this stage we’re feeling very positive that it will run a course.”

The ABC has contacted the office of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for comment.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-09-16/bellamys-takeover-proposed-by-chinese-company/11515468

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GLADYS LIU declines to explain her part in mysterious $105,000 DONATION!

Key Points … and why foreign political interference has ramifications for Australian technology, innovation and businesses … Our Economy!

Liu has declined to explain whether she acted as a go-between in organising $105,000 donation by Brighsun EV the Chinese-owned company she worked for, spruiking electric buses

ASIC records reveal Brighsun Electrical Vehicles Group was registered in September 2015; registered office, a house in Hidden Grove Boulevard, Keysborough, Victoria

company directors Kejun HUANG(?) and Genjiang Zhang, two Chinese-born investors based in Zhejiang, China

Liberal Party held a $1100-a-head event at Federation Square; items auctioned incl. dinners with Mr Turnbull and Julie Bishop

the dinners never happened following security concerns over the winning bidders

-the Liberal Party was forced to refund more than $300,000 – a claim that Ms Liu and the Liberal Party deny

Gladys Liu declines to explain her part in mysterious $105,000 donation

Gladys Liu $105,000 donation

Gladys Liu has declined to explain her involvement in a mysterious $105,000 donation to the Liberal Party. Photo: AAPEXCLUSIVE

Samantha Maiden

Samantha Maiden

COMMENT

*Liberal MP Gladys Liu has declined to explain her involvement in a mysterious $105,000 donation to the Liberal Party by a Chinese-owned company she worked for, spruiking electric buses.

The donation, which was one of the largest from an individual company to the Victorian Liberal Party in 2015, is detailed in filings to the Australian Electoral Commission.

Known as the Liberal Party’s “million-dollar woman”, Ms Liu’s great success as party fundraiser prompted her to spruik her record when she sought preselection for the seat of Chisholm in 2019.

“I have raised over $1 million for the party by organising events both large and small, centrally for the party as well as locally for MPs and candidates,” Ms Liu wrote.

*But Ms Liu declined to answer questions about whether she , whether it was for an auction or fundraising dinner she attended, or whether it related to a fundraising dinner at Melbourne restaurant Zinc, in 2015, attended by then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“At all times, I have sought to comply with relevant state and federal disclosure laws,” she told The New Daily.

The mysterious donation has emerged after Ms Liu indicated she was conducting an audit of her involvements with Chinese organisations with links to Communist-backed foreign influence operations and her fundraising activities.

According to the Liberal Party, a company called Brighsun New Energy made a $105,000 donation in 2015-16 listed as “other”, rather than a cash donation, suggesting it was an auction item or a fundraising dinner.

Gladys Liu declines to discuss donations from Brighsun
The 2015-16 political party disclosure return to the AEC showing Brighsun’s donation. Photo: AEC

In the same filings, Ms Liu is recorded as donating $39,000 but is listed as “other”, suggesting the funds were money for tickets to a fundraising dinner or an auction item rather than cash.

At the time of the $105,000 donation, Ms Liu worked for Brighsun as a communications director, organising media events that included Liberal frontbencher Greg Hunt who held the climate change portfolio at the time.

*According to ASIC records, Brighsun Electrical Vehicles Group was registered in September 2015, and listed its current registered office to a house in Hidden Grove Boulevard, Keysborough, Victoria.

*The company directors were Kejun Huang and Genjiang Zhang, two Chinese-born investors based in Zhejiang, China.

Around the same time of the donation, Brighsun’s CEO Kejun (Kevin) Huang was photographed with the former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Gladys Liu refuses to disclose source of donations
Brighsun director Kejun (Kevin) Huang photographed with former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull in 2016. Photo: Supplied

Ms Liu and Liberal frontbencher Mr Hunt also appear in photographs attending events highlighting the electric vehicles around the same period, that were used to promote the venture and on the Chinese company’s official website.

Gladys Liu declines to discuss donations from Brighsun
Brighsun group chair Allen Saylav, former climate change minister Greg Hunt, Brighsun director Kejun Huang and Gladys Liu. Photo: Brighsun

Mr Turnbull told The New Daily that he did not recall how he met Chinese businessman Mr Huang, or whether it was at a Liberal fundraiser.

*Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office referred queries to Ms Liu’s office, which declined to address the substance of the questions on fundraising or the $105,000.

*Ms Liu organised events to promote Brighsun electric buses in Melbourne in October 2015, securing a Guinness World Record for the bus travelling a whole day or interstate without having to find somewhere to recharge.

“We believe it will bring a whole new concept of public transport with no pollution to Australia and to the world,” Ms Liu said.

*The Liberal Party held a $1100-a-head event at Federation Square in the same month, that was said to have raised $750,000 for the party’s Victorian division.

*Among the items auctioned at the event were dinners with Mr Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that sold for more than $100,000 each to private donors.

Ms Liu was unable to confirm whether or not Brighsun EV representatives attended this dinner or bid on any auction items.

*The Herald Sun has previously reported the winning bids for the dinners with Mr Turnbull and Ms Bishop came from two tables brought to the function by Ms Liu.

*The newspaper reported that the dinners never happened after intelligence agencies raised security concerns over the winning bidders, and the Liberal Party was forced to refund more than $300,000 – a claim that Ms Liu and the Liberal Party deny.

Liberal frontbencher Stuart Robert said Ms Liu was double-checking her declarations on donations and past links to organisations.

“The issue isn’t the quantum, the issue is the declaration. Transparency is important in our democracy,” Mr Robert told Sky News.

“I’m satisfied that she is going through her associations. She’s double-checking that to ensure that they are declared or that she removed herself from them,” he said.

But Labor leader Anthony Albanese said she would make a full statement to Parliament and called on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to stop implying that questions about Ms Liu’s activities were “racist”.

“It was quite outrageous last week that he said this issue was about race,” Mr Albanese said.

“The only person who has said that this is about race is the Prime Minister.

“Australia has national security issues. The fact is these have to be debated soberly. They need to be debated in a way that is mature.

“And what we see from the Prime Minister is trying to hide scrutiny from the same bloke who referred to ‘Shanghai Sam’ [Dastyari] on no less than 17 different occasions.”

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/09/15/gladys-liu-liberal-party-donation/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20News%20-%2020190916

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Chinese owners ordered to rehabilitate Yakka Munga cattle station in the Kimberley

IS this the sort of foreign investment we need?

IS this the sort of corporate behaviour we suffer before something happens?

WHEN will safeguards be in place to ensure this sort of vandalism can’t happen?

IS this yet another case of a foreign investor ignoring the laws of Australia?

SHOULDN’t a fine automatically apply? Are we to believe it will be substantial, and payment pursued?

Chinese owners ordered to rehabilitate Yakka Munga cattle station in the Kimberley

ABC Kimberley By Claire Moodie

14 SEPTEMBER 2019

Image of land cleared on a remote cattle station in the Kimberley. The cleared land stretches towards the horizon.

PHOTO: Some of the land cleared at Yakka Munga cattle station, near Derby in the Kimberley (Supplied)

RELATED STORY: ‘Complete disregard for ecosystems’: Tougher penalties plea over Kimberley land clearing

RELATED STORY: Chinese company ordered to stop land clearing on Kimberley cattle station after Aboriginal blockade

RELATED STORY: Indigenous protesters take on Chinese company in land clearing blockade

RELATED STORY: Cattle company, native title holders do battle over land clearing at Yakka Munga Station

The West Australian Government has ordered the Chinese owners of Yakka Munga cattle station in the Kimberley to rehabilitate the site, after a land-clearing scandal.

Key points:

  • Traditional owners have welcomed a ruling forcing a Chinese-owned company to rehabilitate Yakka Munga station
  • Native title holders had blockaded the station in the Kimberley in a bid to stop land clearing
  • The company, Zenith Australia, could face a fine of $500,000 for clearing without a permit

Zenith Australia Investment Holding, a major land-holder in Australia, was ordered to stop work at Yakka Munga, near Derby, in June, after Aboriginal native title holders blockaded the station gates.

The Nyikina Mangala people were angry that they had not been consulted about the clearing of 120 hectares of native vegetation.

WA’s Pastoral Lands Board issued a default notice giving the company until the end of November to carry out remediation work.

VIDEO: Aerial view of land-clearing at Yakka Munga station in the Kimberley (ABC News)

No application for a permit

Pastoral Lands Board chairman Tim Shackleton said the company had been ordered to restore the entire 120 hectares to its natural state —a process that could take years.

He said that in the interim important steps had to be taken to prevent soil erosion, including refilling two excavated channels and building up to forty diversion barriers, to divert rain water from the site.

“The big issue here is that water during the wet season will flow heavily through that cleared area and scour out and remove the topsoil.

“What we know now is that there is an 11-metre fall between the north-east corner and the south-west corner of that site.

“And, unfortunately, you can imagine the result will be that water will move through there very quickly and damage the landscape even more.”

Mr Shackleton said Zenith had been trying to find ways to make their business viable and keep their cattle fed and watered.

“We totally get innovation and entrepreneurial activity within the pastoral industry,” he said.

“Unfortunately that land was cleared without notice to any of the government agencies involved and without an application for a permit.”

Traditional owners not consulted

man in red cap holding up sign, sitting on chair in middle of dirt road

PHOTO: Traditional owner Kenny Watson was among the protesters outside the gates of Yakka Munga. (ABC Kimberley: Claire Moodie )

Traditional owner Wayne Bergmann said the decision to order Zenith to fix the land was the right one.

“I take my hat off to the [government] department for actually following through and fulfilling its statutory mandate to ensure this land is put back they way it should be,” Mr Bergmann said.

However, Mr Bergmann added that he was disappointed that traditional owners had not been consulted over how the land should be rehabilitated.

“Yakka Munga forms part of a land area that has been undisturbed for thousands of years,” Mr Bergmann said.

“It’s our cultural and environmental values that have been disturbed.

“Certain trees, certain vegetation has been damaged and that needs to be re-created.

“It’s not a matter of just pushing the dirt back.

“There is still unfinished business.

“We’ve made a complaint under the Aboriginal Heritage Act and we’re unaware what stage that is at.”

Image of police officers speaking to protesters on the road to an isolated cattle station.

PHOTO: WA Police speaking with Nyikina Mangala protesters at their protest line. (ABC Kimberley: Claire Moodie)

Zenith Australia Investment Holding has been contacted for comment.

The company is also being investigated under the Environmental Protection Act and could face a fine of up to $500,000 for clearing without a permit.

It has argued that it didn’t need a permit because the work to build a stock watering channel, roads and fences was essential to the operation of its pastoral lease.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-14/chinese-owners-ordered-to-rehabilitate-yakka-munga-station/11513170

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Gladys Liu’s Liberal Party branch called to relax foreign investment laws before she became federal MP

IF you want a demonstration that Gladys is batting for the ‘other team’ what more proof do you need?

WITH actual documents that showed that Gladys Liu was pushing for a change in policy when it came to foreign investment … it’s clear that her interests were not that of Australia

WILL she tart that up as getting rid of regulations to encourage foreign investment?

Gladys Liu’s Liberal Party branch called to relax foreign investment laws before she became federal MP

By Dan Oakes, ABC Investigations

14 SEPTEMBER 2019

Liberal candidate for Chisholm Gladys Liu speaks with campaign posters in the background.

PHOTO: Gladys Liu has faced a week of scrutiny over her links to Chinese Government-affiliated organisations. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

RELATED STORY: More controversy builds around besieged MP Gladys Liu

RELATED STORY: Liberal MP Gladys Liu’s ties to Chinese Government influence network revealed

RELATED STORY: Guests on Gladys Liu list for Malcolm Turnbull event sparked ASIO concerns

Gladys Liu’s Liberal Party branch pushed an unusual motion within the Liberal Party to relax foreign investment laws prior to her becoming a federal MP.

Key points:

  • Gladys Liu was involved in a motion calling to ease foreign investment laws relating to agricultural land and agribusinesses
  • The motion also said attitudes toward foreign investment were fuelled by xenophobia
  • It was moved at a state Liberal Party conference in 2017, prior to Ms Liu becoming a Federal MP

*At the 2017 Victorian Liberal Party conference, the party’s Eastern Multicultural Branch, of which Ms Liu was the president, proposed a motion that would make foreign investment in agribusiness and agricultural land easier without approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.*

It also accused public attitudes toward foreign investment as being driven by xenophobia.

The motion, obtained by the ABC, called for the raising of the $15 million screening threshold for agricultural land and the $55 million threshold for agribusiness. Any investment above these levels must be approved by the board.

“The current screening thresholds are too low and create unnecessary bureaucracy and costs when dealing with foreign investment,” the motion read.

“The capital value of agricultural land and agribusiness investments particularly in Northern Australia are well above these thresholds and need to be set at levels that will allow normal transactions to proceed.

The threshold for agricultural land remains at $15 million, while the threshold for agribusiness has subsequently been raised to $58 million.

The motion also called for the Federal Government to “address the xenophobia that is current in the Australian community regarding foreign investment”.

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The ABC could not confirm whether the motion was carried or voted down. Ms Liu did not respond to questions about why the motion was put forward.

Motion was out of step with party attitudes

Scott Morrison holds Gladys Liu's arm in the air as he points to her with his other hand. MPs behind are smiling and clapping

PHOTO: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has supported Gladys Liu throughout her controversial first few months as an MP. (ABC News: Luke Stephenson)

The subject of foreign investment in agricultural land and agribusiness has been the subject of fierce debate.

In 2015, the Federal Government, then led by Tony Abbott, toughened its approach to foreign investment, slashing the threshold for approval of foreign investment in agricultural land from $252 million to $15 million.

Six months before the motion was moved at the Victorian Liberal conference, then deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce gave a speech to the National Farmers Federation in which he warned foreign ownership of agricultural land was a threat to patriotism and national sovereignty.

How the ABC first reported Gladys Liu’s links to a secretive Chinese influence network

How the ABC first reported Gladys Liu's links to a secretive Chinese influence network

Ties linking new Federal Liberal MP Gladys Liu to a secretive international influence arm of the Chinese Government were uncovered by the ABC earlier this year.

Ms Liu’s membership in a number of organisations linked to the Chinese Government’s propaganda and foreign influence efforts have been the subject of furious debate this week.

Ms Liu has admitted being a member of some organisations, but suggested that she might have been appointed to positions without her knowledge.

The ABC revealed that Ms Liu was a council member of two chapters of the China Overseas Exchange Association, an arm of Beijing’s powerful State Council, the Chinese government’s central political and administrative body.

Ms Liu has also held honorary positions in a number of other organisations linked to the Chinese government’s United Front activities, which seek to expand its influence in foreign countries.

Ms Liu has previously said she was an honorary chairman of one of these organisations because of her desire to facilitate trade between Australia and Hong Kong.

The ABC also revealed that Ms Liu had failed to disclose her membership of any of these groups when she ran for preselection for the seat of Chisholm, which she won at the last federal election.

In her preselection application, she boasted of having raised more than $1 million for the Liberal Party at a series of dinners where VIP guests bought seats for $1,000 each.

However, in February 2018, ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis gave advice that then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull should not attend a function organised by Ms Liu in Chisholm because of concerns about the guests invited to the event.

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-14/gladys-liu-was-part-of-calls-to-ease-of-foreign-investment-laws/11511500

Valuations reveal size of Sidoti family fortune from property plays

JOHN SIDOTI THE $41.4 MILLION CABINET MINISTER

Explosive details about cabinet minister John Sidoti’s family property portfolio – valued at $41.4 million – now threaten to end his political career — and give the Premier a new headache

Valuations reveal size of Sidoti family fortune from property plays

Explosive details about cabinet minister John Sidoti’s family property portfolio – valued at $41.4 million – now threaten to end his political career — and give the Premier a new headache, writes Jennifer Sexton.

Jennifer Sexton, The Daily Telegraph

September 14, 2019

DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU1:11John Sidoti referred to ICAC by Labor

VIDEO:

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian expects an investigation into her sports minister to wrap up as early as next week. John …

Not much changed around their rural retreat at Rouse Hill in the 45 years boilermaker Otto Haller and his wife Marie-Luise Haller owned 38 Cudgegong Rd. They paid $3000 in 1969 for the 2.6ha block, built a shack, grew jasmine over the front veranda and knocked up a couple of sheds.

They were surrounded by farms and eucalyptus trees, and beyond the rusted front gate was a pot-holed road.

Then the developers came knocking, talking offers in the millions.

John Sidoti at the budget estimates hearing on Thursday
John Sidoti at the budget estimates hearing on Thursday
Pictures: Dean Lewins
Pictures: Dean Lewins

Four months after her husband died in January 2014, Mrs Haller signed a caveat, giving an entity of Chinese developer Southern Han International first dibs at buying the property.

Mrs Haller could not be located to establish what she got in return, but land title records reveal that a year later she sold the property to Southern Han for $4.1 million.

The Telegraph has this week revealed the explosive details of what happened next — and the concurrent behind-the-scenes government deliberations over billions of dollars worth of new metro train lines and profitable higher density property zonings.

*The ugly juxtaposition between these secret deliberations — gold for developers — and the multimillion-dollar property portfolio belonging to cabinet minister John Sidoti now threatens to end his political career. This week it triggered an inquiry into his conduct and a referral to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Mrs Haller’s old Rouse Hill property, in which Sidoti holds a 10 per cent share via JAFS Investment Trust (named after the initials of his children Julian, Ava and Fabian), has since been approved to house 295 apartments — right next door to Tallawong, the last stop on the government’s flagship North West Metro.

*The cost of building four eight-storey towers on the site is $70 million. Valuations obtained by The Telegraph reveal that on completion the development will be worth $114 million — making Sidoti’s share a staggering $11.4 million.

Design drawings for the approved $70 million development of four eight-storey residential towers at 38 Cudgegong Rd, Rouse Hill.
Design drawings for the approved $70 million development of four eight-storey residential towers at 38 Cudgegong Rd, Rouse Hill.

*Add to that the potential return on a property development his mum and dad are completing in Five Dock and the family is sitting on a $41.4 million windfall.

*Three days of damning revelations in The Telegraph lifted the lid on a banned political donation from Sidoti’s developer partner at Rouse Hill, Southern Han International vice-president Ming Shang.

In addition, in three years Sidoti’s elderly mum and dad spent $5 million on three lucrative parcels that he kept from the public for years while a site just one block away was firming as a likely location for a future Metro West station.

For Premier Gladys Berejiklian, already under intense internal pressure over her handling of the abortion bill, the scandal is a test of leadership that will not end with her belated call on Thursday to refer Sidoti to an inquiry.

After backing her minister on Wednesday when the story broke, citing how hard he works, her government was ridiculed over his farcical appearance before a parliamentary committee on Thursday. Sidoti stuck to a script of obfuscation and denial that was worthy of political comedy, saying 104 times — almost once for every minute he was in the hot seat — that he met all his disclosure obligations.

The chance to grill Sidoti before a budget estimates committee was a rich pickings for Labor, and a welcome relief soon after its own donation scandal involving $100,000 cash in an Aldi bag from a since-deported Chinese developer.

On Thursday Premier Gladys Berejiklian referred Sidoti to an inquiry. Picture: James Gourley
On Thursday Premier Gladys Berejiklian referred Sidoti to an inquiry. Picture: James Gourley

In two hours of questioning, Sidoti failed to provide a morsel of evidence that backed up his denials of wrongdoing. He stonewalled repeated attempts from Labor’s Walt Secord and Penny Sharpe and the Greens’ David Shoebridge to elicit a straight answer on how he reconciled and separated his private interests from his public duties, including previous roles as a parliamentary secretary for planning and transport.

A clearly exasperated Shoebridge appealed to Sidoti: “Minister, you were parliamentary secretary for planning by day and you were a property developer by night. There is such an obvious conflict of interest. How could you not understand that?”

“I understand that, and that is why I have complied with all my obligations and made all my appropriate disclosures,” Sidoti said.

He was continually challenged on obvious years-long delays between property acquisitions and disclosures, and he did not provide any documents showing he had excused himself from any deliberations or decisions that may have increased the profit he stands to make from those holdings.

“I am saying outright that this is corrupt conduct under Section 8 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act and you should be referred for investigation,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Greens MP David Shoebridge at Thursday’s hearing. Picture: Steven Saphore
Greens MP David Shoebridge at Thursday’s hearing. Picture: Steven Saphore

Sidoti replied: “It’s wrong, it’s false and I have always met my obligations. To even insinuate that I would use my position is disgraceful.”

Within an hour of Sidoti leaving the hearing room, Berejiklian referred the minister’s conduct to a review being conducted by Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Tim Reardon. Reardon will look into whether Sidoti complied with his disclosure requirements, whether he had access to confidential information that was personally beneficial, and whether he “appropriately managed” any conflicts of interest.

The Premier expects the “thorough” review to be wrapped up quickly — potentially within days — and says it will provide the people of NSW with clarity around his alleged conflicts of interest.

A deep dive into Sidoti’s conduct will turn up the heat even further on the Premier.

Berejiklian in April promoted Sidoti from parliamentary secretary to cabinet, handing him four ministerial portfolios — Veterans, Multicultural, Seniors and Sport — a hefty workload for a novice minister, knowing Sidoti had declared private property interests near the government’s metro corridors.

This week she refused to answer The Telegraph’s questions on whether Sidoti followed the ministerial code of conduct and declared a conflict of interest to her, and whether she subsequently gave him authority to act within his portfolios.

Opposition Leader Jodi McKay has referred the matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The metro heads in Tallwong railway station, close to the property at 38 Cudgegong Rd, Rouse Hill. Picture: Justin Lloyd
The metro heads in Tallwong railway station, close to the property at 38 Cudgegong Rd, Rouse Hill. Picture: Justin Lloyd

Ms Berejiklian told 2GB radio the review she has ordered would look into whether Mr Sidoti abided by the NSW ministerial code of conduct and whether he, either as a minister or in his previous roles, had access to confidential information that may have benefited him.

“I think what is important is for the public to maintain integrity and confidence in the process of government,” she told Alan Jones.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the issue had come at a time when trust in politicians was at a particularly low point.

“We know public sentiment towards politicians and government has probably been at the lowest in many years,” he told a budget estimates hearing. He said the ministerial code of conduct was “important” and that every minister should “use every endeavour to make sure that you follow the code”.

“I would hope to believe that every minister abides by the code, fills in their pecuniary interest, they report everything that is accepted or expected from members of parliament,” Mr Barilaro said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro.

In a disclosure record remarkable for its gaps, Sidoti’s declarations are surprisingly prompt on his interest in 38 Cudgegong Rd.

He declared his interest in the land in September 2014, when the option was still in place but prior to the purchase in March 2015, just as he was celebrating his re-election in Drummoyne.

The re-election was helped by a donation from Southern Han’s Shang, repaid by the Liberal Party this week.

*In the hearing, Secord grilled Sidoti over how he came to own his 10 per cent share in the Cudgegong Rd deal, worth $11.4 million.

“Was that a gift, a purchase or a share?” Secord asked.

“When it comes to property disclosures, Mr Secord, I have complied with all my obligations,” Sidoti replied.

“Fifty-one times now you have used that excuse. Are you now going to say the dog ate my homework,” Secord asked.

“I am offended that you would even suggest that a member of parliament would be gifted something,” Sidoti retorted.

When the option on the land was taken out, Sidoti was chair of the parliamentary standing committee on ethics overseeing conflicts of interest and disclosure matters.

“You accept that that is an important role,” Sharpe asked.

“A very important role. Everybody should make the proper declarations,” said Sidoti, triggering sniggers from observers in the room.

Before heading to Macquarie Street in 2011, Sidoti was mayor of Burwood council and ran a function centre with his family at 120 Great North Rd.

The former function centre space is owned by his parents and is now rented out to a gospel church.

Walt Secord grilled Sidoti at Thursday’s hearing. Picture: Carmela Roche
Walt Secord grilled Sidoti at Thursday’s hearing. Picture: Carmela Roche

His mum and dad’s $5 million buying spree of three adjoining properties is metres from a possible site of a future Metro West station.

Plans to consolidate the four Five Dock parcels of land and build 20 units plus a second building of two four-bedroom units have been drawn up by Zhinar Architects, part of Southern Han International and the same firm which has designed the Rouse Hill development.

On completion, the project has an estimated value of $30 million.

Sidoti delayed reporting the new properties to parliament for up to three years — while confidential discussions ensued within the transport department over the possible sites of the stations for the government’s planned key infrastructure project.

In 2014, the same year the first property of three was purchased, the precinct received a more lucrative zoning from the local council, changing it from general commercial to mixed-used commercial and residential — and allowing building heights to be increased by a further three storeys.

Sidoti denied helping or advising his parents in the purchases, but his returns show he acknowledges an interest in the trust that owns two of the four holdings, and all four lots are declared on his most recent return.

“I have been cautious since the day I was elected to parliament because my commitment is to my electorate and the people of my electorate. I do things for the right reason, Mr Secord,” Sidoti said during the hearing.

“I think it is your bank balance,” Secord replied.

“Today’s evidence shows very clearly what motivates you, Mr Sidoti — property deals and fattening your own bottom line.”

John Sidoti at the budget estimates hearing on Thursday

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/valuations-reveal-size-of-sidoti-family-fortune-from-property-plays/news-story/7e04d55ac32196be9736ceceb4d417b9?type=curated&position=1&overallPos=1&utm_source=DailyTelegraph&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial

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HOW A Secret China Flight School Story has been Muzzled!

Key Points … About Beryl’s office suppressing a story in the national media on the eve of the NSW March state election

Virgin Australia secret partnership with 2 Chinese conglomerates to build a flight training school at a former RAAF facility in Tamworth NSW

revelations of apparent direct interference in the media by the Liberal NSW Government, to the benefit of a Chinese conglomerate

Virgin Australia is majority foreign-owned; over 41% held by Chinese entities, including HNA Group, the operator of Hainan airlines

NSW Government had months earlier committed to provide the project with $100s thousands of taxpayer funds if the project was approved by FIRB

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Can it be the Libs are up to their eyeballs with the CCP?

How Premier and News Corp muzzled Virgin’s secret China flight school story

by Anthony Klan — 12 September 2019 — FeaturedFinance

How Premier and News Corp muzzled Virgin’s secret China flight school story

Photo: Virgin PR for pilot project. No mention of Chinese partners

The NSW Government interfered in the media to shut down a story involving a secret pilot training facility backed by powerful Chinese companies. *

It had earlier denied knowledge of the aviation project despite promising to commit taxpayer funds to it. *

Anthony Klan reports.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s office intervened to suppress a story in the national media on the eve of the NSW March state election.*

The story, about Virgin Australia’s plans for a mega flight school to train Chinese pilots near Tamworth, revealed the secret Chinese interests behind the Virgin bid.

The full investigation has since been published here.

On the morning of Friday March 22, The Australian newspaper’s website broke the news that Virgin Australia had a secret partnership with two Chinese conglomerates to build a flight training school at a former RAAF facility in Tamworth NSW.

*Virgin’s partners included its 19.9 per cent shareholder HNA Group, a company which experts say presents serious national security concerns. The Premier’s then media adviser Miles Godfrey, contacted this reporter early that afternoon repudiating the story but refusing to provide any official comment.

Instead of responding to questions, Godfrey said he had earlier “called John Lehmann”, the Editor of The Australian newspaper.

Despite the substance of the article,  no further updates to the story appeared in The Australian after Godfrey spoke to Lehmann. The original story remained online but never made it into the newspaper.

This was despite this reporter filing several updates, including a comment by the local MP Barnaby Joyce that he had “no idea” of the Chinese involvement in the proposal and comments from a “gobsmacked” former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Administration, Dick Smith.*

The Australian has not published a word on the matter in the five months since.

Revolving doors

One week after the NSW election, Godfrey began in a new role as deputy national chief of staff at The Australian.

The revelations of apparent direct interference in the media by the Liberal NSW Government, to the benefit of a Chinese conglomerate with close ties to the Communist Party, come as the federal Coalition comes under fire amid another CCP-linked scandal.*

This week it was revealed federal MP Gladys Liu had been a member of Chinese Communist Party-linked organisations and had publicly called for Australia’s media to soften its coverage in relation to the Chinese government.*

On Sky News on Monday, Ms Liu denied the claims, but under strong pressure the MP was later forced to backtrack.

In a highly unusual move, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office has taken control of Ms Liu’s media communications.*

Ms Berejiklian has consistently refused to comment when repeatedly approached by this reporter over the past five months.

One of her spokesmen, Matthew Sun, repeatedly declined to say when Ms Berejiklian first became aware of the Chinese involvement in the Tamworth mega-project.*

However Sun distanced the NSW government from the project entirely, and said it was a matter for Tamworth Council.

“Tamworth Regional Council independently made an agreement with Virgin Australia regarding the proposed Tamworth flight school,” Sun said in a written statement.

“There was no NSW Government involvement in that specific decision.”

Virgin Australia is majority foreign-owned with over 41 per cent of the company is held by Chinese entities, including HNA Group, the operator of Hainan airlines.

Other shareholders include Singapore Airlines and Bahrain’s Etihad Airlines.

In the week following the election, on 28 March, Godfrey called this reporter to inform of his upcoming new role at The Australian. He was to become one of my bosses. He said he now had a “conflict of interest”, so one of his colleagues would deal with queries over the aviation facility in future.

It agreed Godfrey’s continuing to handle the matter would be improper. However, after I insisted on obtaining answers to the questions put to Berejiklian, Godfrey responded, rather than any of his colleagues.

Later on the afternoon of March 28, I again indicated by email that he had no intention of dropping the story, Godfrey – and not any of his colleagues – called again to argue points of the story, but refused to provide any comment from Berejiklian or to answer simple questions regarding the story.

On the March 22, NSW election eve, Godfrey had also said Berejiklian could not comment on the Virgin Australia scandal because “this is the first we’ve heard of it”.*

It has since emerged the NSW Government had months earlier committed to provide the project with hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer funds if the project was approved by FIRB.*

As reported earlier, the local council said, when questioned over the deal, it had no knowledge although the official position of the Council later changed to insist it knew all along.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Klan

Anthony Klan is an Investigative journalist specialising in corporate malfeasance and corruption. Klan’s investigations into the likes of superannuation, Google Australia, financial planning and Pink Batts have informed government policy and brought reform in Australia.

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WOKESTER POLICE STATE BULLIES CHINESE TAKEOVER AT MONASH

Melbourne universities have the highest proportion of international students in Australia.

Wokester police state bullies Chinese takeover at Monash

By Houses and Holes in China American Cold War

September 12, 2019 | 21 comments

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Monash University’s senior executives have forced a student election to be cancelled after uproar over a “racist” move that banned foreign students from running.

The decision to exclude foreign students, revealed by The Age on Wednesday, was said to be designed to counter a union takeover by a group of mainly Chinese international students, who were widely tipped to win the election that was scheduled for Monday.

The state government confirmed it contacted the university over the issue, while the federal government refused to respond to claims it pressured the university for resolution on Wednesday.

…Multiple university executives travelled from the main Clayton campus to Caulfield to speak to student leaders on Wednesday.

Following those discussions, the student union announced it would cancel the elections and dump its plan to ban foreign students running.

Just wow. The state and federal government intervened on behalf of the Chinese kiddies!

What they didn’t do was pause to consider:

  • why the local kids might be up in arms given issues of campus integration and collapsing pedagogical standards;
  • *how the geniuses at Monash stuffed a campus full of 62% foreigners and expected it to be all good;
  • what should be done about the massive over-population of international students at the policy level.

International students should have representation in student bodies and the experience of democracy itself is good for suppressed Chinese. But these numbers are preposterous.

As Professor Salvatore Babones argued yesterday:

Addressing the National Press Club earlier this year in her role as chair of Universities Australia, Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner boasted that Australian universities have been ‘incredibly successful’ competitors in the international education marketplace…

*Australia ranks third in the world in the number of international higher education students, trailing only the United States and the United Kingdom. Australia has more than twice as many as Canada, which has a population 50 per cent larger than Australia’s.

Measured on a per capita basis, Australia now hosts more international students than any other major country in the world. They make up 3.6 per cent of Australia’s total population, with international higher education students alone accounting for 1.5 per cent of Australia’s population.

At most of Australia’s universities, international students now account for more than 20 per cent of total enrollment.

*At Sydney, Melbourne, and ANU the figure is more than one-third. At the Sydney and Melbourne business schools, it’s more than two-thirds, with data not published for ANU.

No public university in the entire United States even comes close to these concentrations of international students. Only one, the University of California at San Diego, has more than half of the international student concentrations of Sydney, Melbourne, and ANU. If Australian public universities were included in an international student league table alongside American public universities, the Australians would fill all 20 slots at the top of the table and 31 of the top 33.

Which all raises the question: how much is too much?…

If the most successful American public universities are any guide, when it comes to international students, 10 per cent adds diversity to the student body, 15 per cent is the maximum reasonable level, and 20 per cent represents internationalisation gone wild.

*In Australia, the average level of international students across the entire university system is 26.7 per cent. By any reasonable standard, that’s too high.

Nope. They just shut the “racists” down.

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/09/wokester-police-state-bullies-chinese-takeover-at-monash/

TAXPAYERS TO BE FORCED TO SUBSIDISE DAHUA, CHINESE DEVELOPER $219M AFTER SELLING THE LAND FOR $300M

UNBELIEVABLE!

AS with WINDSOR’s Thompson Square and the Windsor Bridge … this state government afforded no protection for MENANGLE which had one of the highest concentrations of historically significant sites in rural Australia dating back as far as the First Fleet!

DESPITE this Landcom sold the Menangle land to Chinese developer, Dahua Group …

WHY is there a discrepancy with SIC discounts available in Sydney’s north and west but not in the Macarthur region? With infrastructure costs blowing out to $219M from $30M

DAHUA doesn’t miss a trick … it’s set to make a bundle with 4000 housing lots on the 364 ha site

WILL 100% of the home and land packages be sold to Chinese buyers? (as per FIRB Ruling) …

NSW Government forced to subsidise Chinese developer $219m after selling the land for $300m

NSW taxpayers will be forced to subsidise a Chinese property developer $219 million­ in infrastructure costs — almost wiping out any proceeds the government made from selling the land for $300 million.

Jennifer Sexton, The Daily Telegraph

September 11, 2019

DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU2:13Menangle Park Aerial 360 Degree Vision

IF drone vision cannot be accessed by this link view Source link below

blob:https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/1b40e0f5-eb72-4779-8a4f-95e6f13f2678

Drone vision of Menangle Park, the site of a 158ha land release.

NSW taxpayers will be forced to subsidise a Chinese property developer $219 million­ in infrastructure costs — almost wiping out any proceeds the government made from selling the land for $300 million.

*A leaked letter reveals a row between government-owned land developer Landcom and the planning department over a blowout in infrastructure charges, which Landcom must pay on the developer’s behalf.

John Brogden, from Landcom, speaks at the opening at Oran Park, Saturday, 30th June 2018. Official opening of the new iconic Oran Park Library. (AAP Image / Robert Pozo).
John Brogden, from Landcom, speaks at the opening at Oran Park, Saturday, 30th June 2018. Official opening of the new iconic Oran Park Library. (AAP Image / Robert Pozo).

*Landcom chief executive John Brogden blames the planning department, saying in a ministerial briefing note that Landcom had budgeted to pay $30 million in special infrastructure contributions on the sale of the Menangle land to Dahua Group in 2015.

Dahua Group is one of China’s 50 biggest developers, chaired by self-made real estate developer Jin Huiming, who is estimated by Forbes to be worth $1.46 billion.

*The contributions, which pay for public infrastructure such as roads, paths and parks, were originally ­decided per hectare, but will now be determined on a per-dwelling basis for the $1.5 billion­ housing project.

MORE NEWS

First look: Check out the future Club Menangle

Trust fears land is being ‘flogged off’

Chinese developer spends $85m for M9 orbital land

*Dahua is building 4000 housing lots on the 364ha site in Sydney’s southwest.

*Off-the-plan four-bedroom house and land packages are being marketed from $700,000.

*Mr Brogden wrote to then planning minister­ Anthony Roberts last year complaining that “Landcom and the government would make considerably­ less from the land sale than originally anticipated” and that the new contribution meant government was “effectively funding private developers”.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes. Picture: Rohan Kelly
Planning Minister Rob Stokes. Picture: Rohan Kelly
Former planning minister Anthony Roberts. Picture: Richard Dobson
Former planning minister Anthony Roberts. Picture: Richard Dobson

However, Mr Brogden, who earns $600,000 a year as Landcom CEO, was chair of the body’s board in 2015 when it agreed to pay the SIC. Rob Stokes was then planning minister, returning to the role in March.

Labor said both men had questions to answer.

*“John Brogden is paid more than the Premier, yet as chair of the Landcom board he appears to have presided over a deal that could short-change the state hundreds of millions of dollars and hand it to a property developer,” Labor planning spokesman Adam Searle said.

“Mr Stokes and Mr Brogden need to explain how they approved­ such a deal.”

*Landcom said that at the time of doing the deal with Dahua, the SIC was a per hectare rate, rather than a rate per dwelling.

Labor planning spokesman Adam Searle during a budget estimates hearing at Parliament House in Sydney on September 5. Picture: AAP/Steven Saphore
Labor planning spokesman Adam Searle during a budget estimates hearing at Parliament House in Sydney on September 5. Picture: AAP/Steven Saphore

The planning department on Tuesday said that the final rate of the SIC had not yet been finalised.

A planning department spokesman said the state government “expects contributions are made to support the cost of public infrastructure­, regardless­ of who the developer is”.

Mr Brogden said houses would become expensive in the Macarthur region because it was excluded from SIC discounts available in Sydney’s north and west.

SOURCE: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/nsw-government-forced-to-subsidise-chinese-developer-219m-after-selling-the-land-for-300m/news-story/4479fd5964f908f00c6df47b86c221af

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