Liberal identity's firm pushed for rezoning of MP's property

A company owned by Liberal Party identity Matt Daniel lobbied Canada Bay council for an extension to a proposed rezoning that would have benefited Liberal MP John Sidoti as joint owner of a commercial property.

On Tuesday it was revealed that Mr Sidoti failed to include in his latest declaration to Parliament his part ownership of the property at 120 Great North Road, Five Dock, which will potentially benefit from a rezoning decision supported by Liberal councillors.

Mr Sidoti's septuagenarian parents, Catherine and Richard Sidoti, are joint owners of the property. The rezoning proposal, which has been sent to the planning department, includes a new lane behind the property that would give it valuable rear access for the first time.

Following the revelation Mr Sidoti, who is the MP for Drummoyne and parliamentary secretary to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, updated his register of interests and apologised for the "oversight".

However, he has not responded to questions about his knowledge of the rezoning or possible contact with Liberal councillors including mayor Helen McCaffrey, who used her casting vote to support the proposal.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show that in November last year the planning director at Pacific Planning, James Matthews, emailed Canada Bay council about the proposed rezoning.

Pacific Planning is owned by Mr Daniel, a former Sutherland Shire councillor who in 2013 lost his job as deputy general manager of Liverpool Council after failing to declare he was an undischarged bankrupt.

"Just to confirm, Pacific Planning has been engaged by the owners of 120 and 122 Great North Road; 2 Second Avenue; and 37 Waterview Street, being Richard and Catherine Sidoti and Charlie Tannous," the email to Canada Bay strategic planning co-ordinator Paul Dewar says.

A month earlier, Mr Matthews wrote to Mr Dewar recommending that the council reconsider the proposed rezoning to include the potential for seven-storey buildings for an area covering 120 Great North Road.

In December, Mr Matthews again wrote to Mr Dewar, copying in Mr Daniel and Cr McCaffrey, requesting that a decision on the rezoning be deferred.

This was in part due to the council's reluctance to consider "a bonus provision for the frontage to Great North Road".

The council did not take up Mr Matthews' recommendations to extend the rezoning.

Mr Matthews told Fairfax Media on Wednesday: "I have been engaged by Richard and Catherine Sidoti on this matter and have not been engaged by the Drummoyne MP. I have also represented the owners of 39 and 41 Waterview Street."

Mr Sidoti, Cr McCaffrey and Mr Daniel were approached for comment.

This story Liberal identity's firm pushed for rezoning of MP's property first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.