Did John Day Mislead Parliament? Print E-mail
Submitted on 21/01/2013

In answer to questions from the public in relation to the document that first proposed this plan, the Minister for Planning, John Day in the parliament, in defence of the planning department actions, quoted a document that did not exist. Should Perth people be concerned?

We wish to bring your attention to the chain of events that led to the Minister for Planning (while defending the Department of Planning), quote a document that did not exist.

In the East Wanneroo Structure Plan the government waxed lyrical about the importance of preserving quality wetlands and Heritage sites, however in the “implementation guide” of this document they proposed a four lane road way through a conservation category wetland and over the most important heritage site in the area.

This is in spite of the fact that the planning department had commissioned their own study of both this wetland and heritage site prior to the release of the East Wanneroo Structure Plan and found that the wetland was in "excellent to pristine vegetation condition" and the heritage site was a valuable one.

When the planning department was asked about these reports they denied any knowledge of their existence. Unfortunately for the government and the planning department CREW obtained copies of these reports, it turns out they existed on the planning department’s own computers.

In relation to these matters CREW tabled questions about this matter for John Day to answer in Parliament.

Below are the questions in relation to the Wetland asked in March 2010:

"I refer to the report entitled ‘Survey of Selected Wetlands: City of Wanneroo’ (dated June 2005) which was commissioned and paid for by the planning department, and which is a study of the wetlands in the northern parts of East Wanneroo, and I ask:

(a) why did the planning department have trouble locating this document; and

(b) why has the planning department planned a four-lane road through a valuable wetland
identified in the report?"
The question was taken on notice and John Day answered it on the 20/4/2010 by saying

The Department of Planning has used the most recent wetland assessment data (April 2006) obtained from the Department of Conservation in preparing the draft East Wanneroo Structure Plan.

For his full answer - click here

Well! There was no April 2006 assessment of this wetland and so John Day cited a document in parliament that did not exist. Also, within the context of the question his answer implies that the wetland assessment suggested a downgrading of its status and so warranted a four lane road to be planned through it.

Under Freedom of Information, CREW asked the Department of Conservation about this document and they said it did not exist, not only that,but they suggested that John Day must have been referring to the last assessments carried out on that wetland in November 2005 by a developer and by the Department of Conservation in January and February 2006.

It was Cedar Woods (developer) who commisioned this report and wanted this wetland to be catagorised as a multiple use wetland rather than one of consevation value and not the Department of Conservation. The Department of Conservation assesed this wetland to be a consevation catagory wetland.

Conclusion: abject incompetence by John Day or a strategy to deceive the public? Either way it shows John Day should not be trusted when it comes to competent planning. Why should we trust his plans for land on top of one of Perth’s most precious resources, the P1 Boundary of the Gnangara Mound, given his actions so far?

Below is the question asked March 2010 in relation to the heritage site:

"I refer to the report entitled ‘A Report on Aboriginal Heritage Investigation’ (dated February 2007) which was commissioned and paid for by the Department of Planning, and which identifies an Aboriginal site where there is now a road planned, and ask why a road has been proposed over this Aboriginal site?"

The question was taken on notice and John Day answered it on the 20/4/2010 by saying

The report entitled 'A Report on Aboriginal Heritage Investigation' (dated February 2007) indicates the presence of a culturally sensitive Aboriginal site in the Mariginiup area. This site is shown as an interim site on the Department of Indigenous Affairs' (DIA) Aboriginal Sites Register.

Based on the sensitive nature of this site, DIA staff classified this as a 'closed' site, and further details including the exact location of the site may only be provided with the permission of the registered informant.The DoP has requested that DIA formally assess the subject site and provide information to permit the full assessment of future planning in this vicinity. On the basis of preliminary discussions it can be confirmed that the proposed road alignment in this vicinity will be amended.

When asked about this report the planning department claimed they did not know of its existence even though they commisioned it and the document lay in their computers. The late Ken Colbung (senior aboriginal elder) met with a senior planner in the planning department in 2005 to discuss this site and its location. On the basis of ongoing discussions the planning department commissioned the report in question rather than ask the department of Indigenous affairs to do their own. It follows that they would have had to have known where the location of the sight was when drawing up the Draft East Wanneroo Structure Plan, this report stressed the importance of the sight. Given the department of Planning knew all this why didn’t they request the Department of Indigenous affairs to make an assessment of the site before drawing up the Draft East Wanneroo Structure Plan?


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