NSW estimates Anthony Robert

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts

The questions bureaucrats in NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts’ department have prepared for forthcoming estimates hearings reveal deep concerns about the NSW government’s persistent overlooking of community concerns, its inability to fulfil election commitments and concerns about links with troubled shock jock Ray Hadley.

In the lead-up to the round of NSW Parliament budget estimates hearings starting at the end of the month, bureaucrats across the NSW government are preparing answers to questions they and their ministers expect to face during the course of hearings. The list of proposed questions put forward for Roberts has found its way to Crikey, and reveals both what the department is sensitive about, and areas that it has overlooked that the NSW Opposition — which has obtained considerable mileage from exploiting NIMBYism in Sydney — could pursue.

The questions are often couched in the kind of hostile terms in which opposition politicians would put them, so don’t be misled by the phrasing of some; the subject matter illustrates where the government believes it is vulnerable.

The NSW government’s recent decision to renew Chinese company Shenhua’s coal exploration licence on the Liverpool Plains after buying back most of it back has a number of questions and the bureaucrats have suggested two questions about discussion held with Sydney radio entertainer Ray Hadley, including:

What conversations has the Minister or Department had with Ray Hadley? What assurances has the Minister provided about his property?

Recently the government took the peculiar step of heritage listing a property owned by an ancestor of Hadley’s. A number of questions also address the fact that the government has ignored or overridden community concerns about a variety of major projects, while there are also questions about news reports and rumours, such as:

Did the Department stage a staff event at the Sydney Opera House featuring an interpretative theatre group performing a “planning” show?

The full list of questions is here.