Turns out the reason we haven't had terrorist attacks in Wollongong is because ISIS haven't been able to get their hands on a list of apartment buildings which use combustible aluminium cladding.
At least that's what the Planning Department would have us believe.
No joke, I'm afraid, and I'd be more comfortable if it were.
The Department of Planning and Environment has refused access under GIPA laws to Wollongong's Combustible Cladding Register - a list of buildings identified as using the aluminium-composite material blamed for the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people in London in 2017.
Planning's decision maker, perhaps with a straight face, cited the risk of terror attacks on the buildings as a reason for refusal.
Not that the Government is still trying to work out, two years later, what to do with combustible cladding on existing buildings.
Nor that the Government prefers to keep information from its people until it has something announceable.
Nope, it's the trrrrrsts. Bollocks.
This is absolutely shameless, and an insult to the people of NSW, who are the real owners of this information.
The decision-maker, who we will not name, also listed property prices as a reason for refusal. Which sounds fair enough, caring for homeowners - but that's not how the issue was framed.
Rather, the decision said the information as to whether a building has combustible cladding, or not, itself has value - it's worth something to the building owner if she has the information and others don't.
"I consider this information to be commercially valuable to a building owner or manager because information of this kind can have an effect on the market value and the insurability and insurance premiums for a property," he said.
The knowledge gap is a bargaining asset, which trumps public interest, apparently. No mention of the purchaser.
Developers and property owners have every right to be concerned. But it's not only their interests which should be protected. Just do the right thing - like IRT, which has volunteered to re-clad its Links buildings.
The decision maker said he had "not identified any public interest considerations in favour of releasing the information".
Sadly, it's been revealed Planning was telling councils last month to cite terrorism and deny requests for access to the register.
Terrorists to swoop on Wollongong apartment buildings?
No public interest found?
Wonder how hard they looked.