Tuesday, June 29, 2010Author: Ombudsman Bianca CarmonaA SCATHING report into the Kew Cottages development revealing conflicts of interest, heritage issues and poor record-keeping has been welcomed by project critics.
Ombudsman George Brouwer’s report found heritage issues, delays, “poor record-keeping” and conflict of interest issues that were “neither well handled, nor understood”.
Kew Cottages Coalition president Brian Walsh welcomed the report, saying it confirmed the State Government had “sold Victoria a lemon”.
The report revealed the former project director of Major Projects Victoria failed to declare owning shares in developer, Mirvac, one of the initial companies involved in expressing an interest in the Kew project.
The former project director said he didn’t believe it was a conflict of interest because the share-holding was a “very minor holding of shares valued at less than $10,000”.
But Mr Brouwer said it was “inappropriate” for Major Projects Victoria employees to have shares in property development companies. “At the very least, such shareholdings must be disclosed,” he said.
The report also found the Department of Human Services’ record-keeping was poor and that heritage issues were “not handled well”, leading to “significant delays” i