ICAC recommends suspension of Wollongong development

In part two of its report into corruption at Wollongong City Council, the ICAC has recommended the suspension of development consent for a proposed $100 million development known as “Quattro”.

In part 2 of its Report on an investigation into corruption allegations affecting Wollongong City Council, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has announced a finding of “serious corrupt conduct” against former Wollongong City Council Planner Beth Morgan.

The ICAC recommends that the Minister for Planning consider suspending the development consent granted by the Council for a proposed $100 million development known as “Quattro” – the largest development proposal in Wollongong.

Development consent has already been temporarily suspended by the Land and Environment Court while the report concludes.

The ICAC made findings of serious corrupt conduct against Ms Morgan and developer Frank Vellar, and noted that the Quattro development was proposed by Sebvell Pty Ltd, a company controlled by Mr Vellar, and is far larger than any existing or proposed comparable development in Wollongong.

It also observed that the application for consent was assessed and approved by Ms Morgan, who was a senior council officer at the time and had an undisclosed sexual relationship with Mr Vellar.

Commissioner the Hon Jerrold Cripps said: “As part of a concerted plan with Mr Vellar, Ms Morgan arranged for the Quattro DA to be determined under delegated authority, when it should have been reported to the Council, and then deliberately failed to undertake any genuine assessment of it against the applicable development standards and controls because she knew that it grossly exceeded them and should not have been approved.

“Her conduct amounted to a wilful abuse of her position for the personal benefit of herself and Mr Vellar,” he said.

Part 1 of the report, issued on 4 March, recommended that all civic offices in relation to the Council be removed. The Governor of NSW promptly proclaimed as such, and appointed three administrators. The third part of the report will be released later this year.

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