Report from Friday 12 June: first group of papers released, two boxes:

This is all you need to know. The Upper House succeeded in getting an order to release all documents related to the Powerhouse Parramatta project, aka demoliton of the Powerhouse while giving Paramatta what it does not want in a site that it wants untouched and wasting at least a billion dollars in the process. The Government released some documents to the public (single copy readable by appointment at Parliament House), released others to the Inquiry politicians, and as usual, declared a lot of others 'commercial in confidence', 'cabinet in confidence' and  'legal professional privilege in confidence'. 

To get in to look at the material one has to be escorted by a politician's staffer, and as most are working from home, that is diffcult. I rang eleven MPS before Rachel from Penny Sharpe's office organised my entry.

The documents released to the public, at least in the first release, are irrelevant and useless. Around 600 to 700 disorganised pages were issued, of which more than a quarter were drafts of the 2017-18 annual report, (I kid you not) which has been online for over a year.  Only a small fraction of the stuff referred to the ‘move’ project and it was almost all either PR presentations or emails on such things as what was the contract number for the PR firm Aurecon. A lot was from the design competition, a lot of that is publicly available and the rest inconsequential.

I did a summary of its presentation and content, (attachment 1) data mined it for any useful insights (several things of interest including the fact that when Meade spoke it was noticed), (attachment 2) and finally marked up the list of stuff they presented with notes (attachment 3)

Only masochists need to read further. The stuff that they produced was not worth the paper it was written on. It is another insult to the democratic process.

Tom

 

Report from Tuesday 16 June.

New documents were received late on Friday. We are not able to get in on Monday as no escorts wre available On Tuesday Senada from Mr Borsak's office arranged entry and I spent four hours there.

The short report is that there are 15 new boxes. Again, the material is not labelled and the information is hard to find. This is the message I sent to Robert Borsak's office, and as you can see from his recent press statement he is trying to get the stuff put online for public access.

I wish to draw your attention to the eminently unsatisfactory nature of the presentation of the documents released for public inspection on 10 and 12 June 2020 in response to the motion from Mr Borsak that, under Standing Order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House various documents concerned with the Powerhouse Museum ‘move’.

This email requests that the material made available to the public be put online because in the present conditions efficient access is not available and this is exacerbated by the manner of presentation of the material. Around 5,000 documents have been released, and though we were prepared for this, and have teams of people ready to examine them, this process is severely circumscribed because of Covid virus restrictions. We were not able to get in to begin work till Friday 12 June. No access could be given on Monday 15 June because of these restrictions, but one person gained entry on Tuesday 16 June for one person.

The problem is exacerbated by the method of presentation of the material and the inclusion of vast amounts of irrelevant material. A prime example is in box 2 of the material received on Wednesday 12 June, of which more than half is drafts of the 2017-18 annual report of MAAS, readily available online and totally irrelevant. Of the first three boxes to be examined on Tuesday 16 June over 80% consisted of  blank forms. This was witnessed by Senada from Mr Borsak's office and by Legislative Council officers.

The only democratic solution is for the material to be made available online.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Tom Lockley.


More information on this matter is below:

The material received is as follows:

Received Wednesday 12 June: Two boxes numbered 1 and 2.

Received Friday 12 June, late afternoon:

·        Four boxes labelled 1-4

·        Ten boxes labelled 1-10

·        One box labelled 1.

Only one person can visit the room at a time because of Covid restrictions. The boxes have a generic label and it is impossible to find the contents without considerable effort. Documents are not separated and all documents are copied in black and white on A4 paper: some are illegible, and many documents spread over several pages horizontally and are very difficult to follow.

But this is not the main problem. So far we have found that the overwhelming majority of the documents released are completely useless and irrelevant:

In the material received Wednesday 12 June: Two boxes numbered 1 and 2: in box 2 over half the material in box 1 was successive drafts of the 2017-18 MAAS annual report, .entirely irrelevant to what was sought, and the final draft of this and the 2018-19 report are readily available online. Much of the rest was administrivia emails, eg 5 emails about the reference number for the claim for expenses of the PR firm Aurecon. There was a considerable amount of  PR material prepared by Mr Limkin, uncaptioned pictures of various design aspects and so on. Of the first two boxes, over 600 sheets, I copied 38 sheets of some relevance to the criteria required by the request for information. See the overview attached that I prepared for my colleagues.

On Tuesday 16 June I examined boxes 1 -3 of the box 1-4 group.

Two thirds of box 1 was taken up with blank forms. All of box 2 was taken up by blank forms. Over ¾ of box 3 was taken up by blank forms. Photos available This was witnessed by Senada from Mr Borsak’s office and by officers of the Legislative Council. Of the approximately 300 printed pages, I found some relevance in about 45 pages, and this included all references to the Powerhouse Museum. Much of the material was documents of the Heritage Council – agendas rather than content, eg documents related to the Powerhouse were listed for presentation, but we did not receive the documents. There was no more material on the Powerhouse Museum heritage assessment than there was for at least 20 other projects.

I also examined the box 1 of the group consisting only of box 1.

This did contain some useful material. Perhaps 20% had relevance to what was sought. Much of it concerned the MDC at Castle Hill and was only of peripheral interest. There were still about 40 misprinted pages, many A4 pages that were illegible, and a particular problem was documents spread over several horizontal pages.  These are very difficult to follow.

If Covid restrictions did not apply we could have teams of 3 or 4 people sorting and examining the documents. The task under present circumstances is impossible, and we urge that democracy will be served if this material is placed online.