SABA hits out at leaked email dirty tricks

Cr Youhorn Chea, middle, with SABA's Hoang Tran and Daniel Cheng with a petition against parking meters in Springvale. 141193_04 Picture: ROB CAREW


SPRINGVALE Asian Business Association spokesman Stan Chang has lashed out at Greater Dandenong Council after a leaked email suggested his organisation was unopposed to on-street parking meters.
The email sent by Mr Chang to council officers in late 2013 comprises “notes re our meeting” on a “confidential” draft parking management plan in Springvale.
“SABA has written to council re its position on the proposal of introducing parking meters before in 2004, that we did not have strong objection to that as long as it is managed properly,” Mr Chang wrote.
The email is in apparent conflict with SABA’s fierce opposition to the council’s plans to install parking meters this year, including threats to make it a 2016 council election issue.
Councillor Peter Brown, who has been singled out for his pro-meters stance, said the email suggested SABA had been in support of parking meters and that there had been proper consultation.
“When the public find out that SABA has been behind these matters for quite some time, it will certainly discredit their campaign.”
In the email, Mr Chang also suggested “sweeteners” by re-investing the revenue into new on-street parking spots in Springvale shopping precinct.
The council has since promised to invest the meter’s expected $1 million annual revenue in central Springvale.
On Thursday, Mr Chang said the leak was a “dirty tactic” by the council, which had acted “worse than an unscrupulous business operator”.
“When I mentioned we had no strong objection, it doesn’t mean we support it.
“And I said ‘if the council manage it properly’ – but in this case the council didn’t manage it properly.”
Mr Chang said his notes were of his “off-the-cuff comments” after being invited to sit down with council officers for a “confidential” and “informal” discussion in December 2013.
He said there hadn’t been proper consultation such as a formal proposal presented to SABA, traders or the community before it went to “the council vote” this year.
“If they have written to us formally and consulted local traders and no one indicates an objection, fair enough.
“But in this case, I wouldn’t consider this proper consultation.
“They try to cover themselves but it exposes the way they conduct themselves is far from desirable.”