RESIDENTS remain divided over the sale of interest-free housing lots in Riverstone despite a recent meeting between representatives of two community organisations and the company.
The controversy raged on despite an early statement from Blacktown mayor Len Robinson that Qartaba Homes Pty Ltd had yet to submit an application for the subdivision of its lands.
He said there were pre-lodgement plans in the council’s property files identifying a possible future subdivision proposals. Cr Robinson said there were several technical development concerns that needed to be sorted out before the matter could progress.
We asked some of the interested parties to tell us what they thought about the development:
Khurram Jawald director Qartaba Homes:
‘‘OUR company is an Australian owned and registered business run by three Australian directors.
‘‘The directors of the company are passionate about ensuring all Australians regardless of their socio- economic status, cultural background, race, faith, religion or creed is able to own their own piece of land.
‘‘What sets Qartaba Homes apart is not who can buy land but the deal they are offering; we are offering interest-free land purchase.
‘‘We don’t provide finance as this would defeat the purpose but what we do offer is for anyone to be able to buy land on instalments.
‘‘This is where the interest-free component comes in, because you know before you begin exactly how much each instalment is and when it is due.
‘‘Qartaba Homes is a legal business entity which is not affiliated with any organisation; our aim is to help people own their own land while assisting the area to grow and develop which consequently will ensure growth for local businesses.
‘‘We uphold Australian values and would expect the same from any Australian who purchases our land regardless of ethnic background.
‘‘All you can expect as a Qartaba client is interest free land purchase in a geographic area where the government development and planning is focused.’’
Michael Vassili vice-president Riverstone Chamber of Commerce:
‘‘THE Chamber will shortly advise a date in February for a meeting with the developers for members of the chamber and the public to share information and better understand what it is about. We are yet to arrive at a suitable date.
‘‘The chamber is extremely concerned at the volume of bigoted comment which is occurring on so- called community web sites which show an ugly side to Riverstone.
‘‘We are focusing in difficult circumstances to establish Riverstone as a vibrant community and business hub.
‘‘It is extremely disappointing that some elements of the community see this positive local business venture as an opportunity to political grandstand and push racist agendas and that is bad for the community and as far as the chamber is concerned bad business.
‘‘Those who are throwing mud at the chamber for supporting an information flow about this development should reflect on the very poor image which they are portraying for Riverstone.
‘‘We call on all elected representatives from all sides of politics — state, federal and local — to stand united for Riverstone and against the very bad bigoted minority who seem to have dominated this debate.
‘‘However, we have little confidence in our elected representatives who have either remained silent or sought to fuel the fire.’’
Ray Williams, Hawkesbury MP:
‘‘THE second page of Qartaba Homes’ flyer specifically states: ‘a 100 per cent Halal Housing Community’.
‘‘As previously stated if a developer was to advertise a 100 per cent Christian Judeo housing community, it would be met with a chorus of racist claims by the politically correct from the length and breadth of this country.
‘‘I don’t really care if it had been advertised as a 100 per cent Hindu housing community, 100 per cent Buddhist housing community or 100 per cent atheist community.
‘‘The point I am making is I think advertising it solely for the purpose of one specific group as it has been, is divisive and discriminate against every other person in society.
‘‘Our country’s success is largely due to the hard work and commitment by our diverse and accepting population, built together and collectively over the past 200 years.
‘‘People who come from hundreds of different countries around the world have made Australia their home and have contributed positively to the most sought after nation on Earth.
‘‘This happened because we accept people as they are, not judge them because of their colour or religious beliefs.
‘‘And the many people who have migrated to this country have earned the respect of their fellow countrymen by mixing harmoniously with others and contributing positively to society.
‘‘In order to keep it that way the developers should advertise their housing to the broader community, which I believe all fair minded Australians would agree with.
‘‘As you can see, the brochure promotes a 100 per cent halal Muslim housing community which — as I have previously said — is divisive.
‘‘I was never invited to any meeting with anyone regarding this matter and would like to correct this record.’’
John Creighton, Riverstone resident:
‘‘PRIOR to these developments surfacing in the public arena and considering that these developments are mooted as being available to ALL people regardless of race or religion, why was the advertising only being focused on one particular religious group and not advertised in mainstream media?
‘‘Why did Qartaba deny that ‘Warrawong’ was being used as a prayer house when they in fact advertised it was operational via Facebook and various Islamic sites?
‘‘When asked in relation to the take-up of land by Muslim v non-Muslims they refused to provide actual figures.
‘‘They could not give a positive response when asked why community members who contacted them in the early stages of the development reported that they were asked how they had found out about it because it was for Muslims only.
‘‘Other community members when requesting information have been given conflicting stories.
‘‘Is the fact they do not, or will not, disclose the additional development costs being used as a method to exclude some potential buyers?
‘‘Without being privy to this information, it precludes the ability to make an informed decision prior to making a purchase commitment.’’
Paul Hutchinson, Riverstone Neighbourhood Watch:
‘‘IF it is true it is open to all Australians they should redesign their flyer on the website.
‘‘They should not say it is their aim to provide 100% halal housing solution to the growing Muslim community of Australia.
‘‘We also want to know who is going to pay for the infrastructure as Riverstone’s current road, power, water and sewerage needs are inadequate.
‘‘People who want to purchase the housing lots also want to know how much they would have to contribute for the development of the area.
‘‘The contribution may come up to $15,000 based on previous development figures in the area.
‘‘We are asking these questions not because of the three directors’ religion. It has nothing to do with their religion. All developers have to provide these answers before we should support them.’’
What do you think of the plan? Tell us below.
Some of the comments on the original story:
■ ‘‘Oh how Mr Rana can lie and say what Australians want to hear to get away with a Muslim enclave and get council approval. What non-Muslim family is going to buy there.’’ JTR
■ ‘‘These people didn’t represent the Riverstone community. They represented themselves and their own need to take the spotlight, for mostly political and egotistical reasons.’’ Riverstone Community Member
■ ‘‘Can’t believe the negativity. This is open to all. A great subdivision, we want to and will live peacefully in the north west.’’ Jlevendi
■ ‘‘Well it appears both sides of the coin can claim halfwit of the year.The Pakistani Muslim developers/PR people appear to have stuffed up and said, quite a matter of factly that. ‘Our aim is to provide 100% Halal Housing solution to the growing Muslim community of Australia’.’’SL
■ ‘‘If the posts on this site and those floating around Riverstone reflect the people of Riverstone then I hope that there is a new enclave created in Riverstone as the disgusting comments (which are reflective of the elected representatives) can only be viewed as raving Red Neck.’’ Oh those RedNecks