PM “concerned” with golf club plans to build housing after refusing permission to erect a memorial to victims of the Oatlands tragedy on his land
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is “very upset” by a golf club’s plans to build apartments in the country where a memorial was prevented from being installed to four local children who were killed by a drugged and speeding driver.
Oatlands Golf Club has applied for 193 homes to be built in the country where it refused to pay tribute to the children killed on a footpath next to the club on February 1 last year.
Three members of the Abdallah family – eight-year-old Sienna, Angelina, 12 and Antony, 13 – died along with their eleven-year-old cousin Veronique Sakr when they went to stores to get ice cream.
The Abdallah family’s three siblings and a cousin were killed on a street next to Oatlands Golf Club in February last year, but the club turned down plans for a memorial on its property.
Mr Morrison wrote to the club in July after its general manager confirmed he would no longer negotiate with the dead children’s family after finding the memorial designs unsuitable.
The Prime Minister’s letter said he would “encourage the club to reflect on its responsibilities as a community group.”
On Monday after news broke of the planned housing development, Mr Morrison said the victims’ families had shown a humble level of grace and forgiveness.
“Your simple, honest, and humble request that you remember the children who have been taken away from you is perfectly reasonable,” said Morrison.
He has consulted NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet on the matter, pointing out that the club remains under pressure to allow a memorial.
“We texted you this morning and I know (he) is working with you to hopefully do something positive here,” said Morrison.
Oatlands Golf Club rejected the proposed memorial on its property, but is now planning to build 193 homes on its property.
NSW opposition leader Chris Minns also raised the issue Monday afternoon, calling on the club to show “a little compassion” for the family who had acted with grace and determination to remember loved ones.
“Some things are more important than money and this is one of them,” said Minns.
“I hope common sense prevails and the golf course changes course.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had previously written to the club about the rejection of the monument and said he was “very concerned” about the apartment proposal.
The driver who killed the children was sentenced to at least 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to four manslaughter, among other things.
An appeal will be filed against this ruling next year.
Oatlands Golf Club has been contacted regarding the monument and development proposal, but has declined to comment.