THE Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which is currently investigating former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, heard on Tuesday that he gave a landowner the private email address of the Premier to lobby for changes that would benefit their land.
The Commission played intercepted phone calls between Mr Magure and horse racing heir Louise Raedler-Waterhouse, hearing that he encouraged her to contact Premier Gladys Berejiklian via her private email to avoid Freedom of Information requests.
Mr Maguire was heard on the phone call saying, “Well, the fact is all that stuff is ICAC-able,” telling Ms Raedler-Waterhouse not to mention his name in any emails for this reason.
Ms Raedler-Waterhouse had initially asked Mr Maguire where to address a letter to the Premier on a road issue affecting her land near the Western Sydney Airport site, but Mr Maguire provided her with an email address that would “go directly” to the Premier.
Ms Raedler-Waterhouse said “I don’t want to be in Freedom of Information of whatever,” and Mr Maguire replied, “just send it directly to her personal one.”
Ms Raedler-Waterhouse told the Commission that emailing the Premier was “a bit cheeky” and that she was “pleased to get direct access”, but the Premier did not reply to her email.
When questioned why she thought Mr Maguire helped her on a matter not relevant to his Wagga Wagga electorate and on an issue not apparently linked to his role as a parliamentarian, Ms Raedler-Waterhouse said “I saw him as a member of parliament who was trying to help.”
“He was very helpful, can-do, no nonsense, and I was looking for any port in the storm,” she added.
The Commission previously heard that Mr Maguire and a business associate William Luong were attempting to help Ms Raedler-Waterhouse broker a possible $330 million sale of the land near the airport to Country Garden, and that both men stood to earn a commission if the sale went through. The sale never ultimately went ahead.
Ms Raedler-Waterhouse said she was sure Mr Maguire never mentioned that he expected a benefit from the sale of the land, however the Commission heard that Mr Maguire could have earned a fee of up to $1 million.
A key barrier to the deal going ahead was the zoning of the land, which did not allow for residential development. The Commission heard that Mr Maguire set out to “grease the wheels” by opening channels with the government.
ICAC previously heard last Friday that Mr Maguire allegedly took Ms Raedler-Waterhouse to the Premier’s foyer in hopes of bumping into then-roads minister Melinda Pavey and ironing out the road and zoning issue affecting her land in 2017.
Former parliamentary liaison officer for Ms Pavey, Jock Sowter, told ICAC that he had met with Mr Maguire and Ms Raedler-Waterhouse for about 25 minutes in relation to the land.
Mr Sowter told the Commission Mr Maguire had introduced him to Ms Raedler-Waterhouse, saying “She has a problem. Can you assist?”
Mr Sowter said that Ms Raedler-Waterhouse introduced herself as the consul-general for Tonga, and said she wanted to “move an intersection” so her land would become “developable”.
“They were certainly seeking assistance in seeing if an intersection could be moved,” Mr Sowter told the Commission. He said that Mr Maguire didn’t indicate that he may personally benefit from the request if it was successful.
Mr Sowter said that he passed Ms Raedler-Waterhouse’s request onto Roads and Maritime Services for advice and was told the department would not facilitate her proposal.
When Mr Sowter informed Mr Maguire there would be no changes to the zoning of the land, he said he received an email reply that left him “perplexed.”
“That means the land is locked and undevelopable by the owner!!!!!” Mr Maguire wrote. “Go back again and please do not accept the BS. Find a way to help.”
The Commission also heard that Mr Maguire was still attempting to find a solution in 2018 when he allegedly lined up a meeting with Sarah Hill, the chief executive of the Greater Sydney Commission at the time.
Ms Hill said she was shocked to arrive at Parliament House for the meeting and see that Mr Maguire had also invited a landowner, Ms Raedler-Waterhouse.
“I was particularly energised after the meeting to write a very detailed file note straight away. To be frank, I was angry. I felt either I had made a mistake or I had been put in a difficult situation,” she said.