Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 7 Hansard (31 July) . . Page.. 2400 ..
you did not read the business case before signing the brief. Chief Minister, why did you approve the purchase of Milapuru for $7 million when it was valued at $4 million?
MR BARR: The Land Development Agency, its chief executive, its board, the treasury directorate and the Under Treasurer assessed the detail of the proposition and provided me with a briefing that recommended, in accordance with the land acquisition policy framework, that the ACT government secure that land. I was happy to accept that recommendation following that process and I agreed to the purchase.
MS LEE: Chief Minister, why did you or anyone from your office not actually read the business case before you took that decision?
MR BARR: I was provided with a detailed brief that outlined the rationale for the purchase. That included a letter from the Under Treasurer and an exchange of letters between the Under Treasurer and the director-general outlining treasury support for that land acquisition. Together with the detail contained within the brief, that was sufficient, noting that the particular land acquisition had both been through a Land Development Agency board internal process and been assessed by treasury and that there had been advice between the heads of the two agencies and a recommendation to me in a brief to support the acquisition. That was sufficient for me to approve the land acquisition.
MR COE: Chief Minister, what is the point of requiring ministerial oversight if you are just going to blindly go with the recommendation?
MR BARR: I read the brief; I discussed the matter with relevant officials; and approved the acquisition.
Land—rural property acquisition
MR PARTON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, you have admitted that you did not read the business case for the purchase of Milaparu. Business cases were also prepared for the sale of Huntly and Winslade as the purchase price was over $5 million. Did you read the business cases for the purchase of Huntly and Winslade?
MR BARR: I read all of the information provided to me in accordance with the land acquisition framework. That will include a range of background material, including business cases, for particular land acquisitions.
MR PARTON: What confidence, Chief Minister, can the community have that you will read the business case for the purchase of a property valued at $5 million when you did not read the business case for the purchase of a property worth $7 million?
MR BARR: The value of the property acquisition is not the important consideration. It is obviously related to levels of risk, and the associated briefing material that comes with a recommendation to the Treasurer. The treasury provides and assesses probably 300 or 400 business cases across budget bids and other areas of business case