State of Siege is a hard-hitting 55 minute documentary produced by Tropic of Oz Independent Films that tracks the conflict between development and urban conservation in NSW. It shows how, steeped in a culture of political donations, modern politics threatens the basic tenets of democratic rights and raises serious questions about the powers and influences of developers.
In 2005 the NSW Labor government amended the planning law to allow developers of large projects to bypass local government approval altogether and apply directly to the State government for what in practice amounted to a rubber stamp, since almost no such applications were ever rejected. Earlier hard-won planning reforms were whittled away, leaving landowners and local councils powerless to fight against destructive and unsympathetic development.
As environmentalist and businessman Dick Smith says in this video, “Rezoning a person’s land is tantamount to stealing it because they will have no choice but to sell to the developer who puts up two ugly apartment blocks on either side of them.”
The documentary is set in Sydney, but it carries a powerful message which is relevant here in WA. It shows how the State and local levels of government affect our lives directly in a way the Federal Government cannot.
Copies of the video may be obtained by emailing one of the film’s producers, Dennis Grosvenor, email@example.com or by phoning him on 02 9419 3314 or 042 158 1157. There is a charge of $25 towards recouping the production costs.