The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has refused to publicly release a secret report on the condition and repair of Lake Illawarra jetties, which have been closed off to the public for years.
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, made an application under freedom of information laws for the release of a report dealing with an assessment of Lake Illawarra infrastructure.
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) notified Mr Scully this week that his application was rejected and the report would remain secret.
“The Government has closed off public access to a number of jetties on the Lake Illawarra foreshore for years now.
“The Department and the Minister have been sitting on an assessment report to repair these facilities and re-open them so the public can enjoy Lake Illawarra during this summer.
“But instead the jetties remain locked up from the public again this summer and continue to rot away on the picturesque Lake Illawarra – one of the Illawarra’s most under-utilised natural assets – all because the Government wants to keep a report secret”, he said.
Mr Scully said there is a growing trend in the Government refusing to publicly release information under the GIPA laws because of third-party involvement.
“Many of these reports are put together by private sector consultants and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the taxpayer.
“Yet these private sector consultants who have pocketed taxpayer funds refuse to allow the release of these taxpayer-funded reports”, he said.
Mr Scully said he would an appeal to the NSW Information Commissioner in an effort to have the report released to the public.
“The community has a right to use the Lake Illawarra foreshore and its facilities and a right to know why they were closed in the first place.
“They have been locked up from public access for far too long”, he said.