"The comments by the former Prime Minister Paul Keating are comical.
"The petition I tabled in parliament was signed by 11,000 people across Sydney and NSW, including people from Dapto, Lane Cove, Hurstville, East Killara, Wagga Wagga, Dulwich Hill, Clovelly, North Sydney, Parramatta, Tweed Heads, Sutherland and Willoughby.
"This is a personal attack to deflect the legitimate concerns of 11,000 Sydneysiders who deserve to be heard. Is the former Prime Minister really saying that anyone who opposes Barangaroo is a 'sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrian'?
"He has missed the real point. I have consistently supported development at Barangaroo and have worked for the best outcome for this significant site, adjacent to our city and on our harbour.
After the People's Parliament, the Premier, Barry O'Farrell committed to an urgent debate in parliament on significant issues where 10,000 citizens called for it. I presented the petition after I was asked to by the petition organisers.
The fact that 11,000 people signed it signifies that this is a matter of major concern. That's why I agreed to table it.
People are genuinely concerned at the former Labor Government's handling of this project.
The issues people want action on include:
- the process that the former Government followed on this important site
- the hotel in the water and the precedent it sets
- decision-making being removed from the legitimate authority, the City of Sydney and handed over to the Minister for Planning under Part 3A
- the bulk and overshadowing of important public space on the harbour
- contamination on the site and how the site will be remediated
- the relocation of the passenger terminal back to the Barangaroo site.
"Let me say it straight - play the issue. Not the person.
The former PM's statements on four storey development are simply false. The City of Sydney's submissions have supported significant development on the site as long as it is tied to public transport improvements and quality design.
Open public space and parks are vital for inner city residents, who often have no private green space in their home. Beautiful parklands and green spaces will be essential at Barangaroo. Anyone who has been following my career knows I have an unparalleled record in defending and achieving new open space.
Last year, City of Sydney projects dominated the National Architecture Awards with three projects winning five awards, an unprecedented number for one client in the National Awards' 30-year history.
MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Delvecchio 0409 924 391