Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 4182 ..
on this, but the point is that this should not have been necessary; there should have been more transparency from the start.
The third report came out in June this year. It was into the former LDA's purchases of rural land to the west of Canberra. I will give two quotes from the Auditor-General for this one. The first is this:
Probity was lacking, and there were probity risks, in some of the actions of the former Land Development Agency ...
The second is this:
The former Land Development Agency committed $43 million ... to purchase 3,378 hectares of rural land ... as a potential future urban development front. However, there is no certainty of future urban development.
I pursued these rural land acquisitions pretty much from the point at which I was re-elected in 2016. The lack of transparency was a major problem. I will not go through all the details, as I have been through them before in the Assembly and in committee hearings, but I will make two points to illustrate the problem.
First, the existing annual report process did not give anywhere near enough transparency. In fact, for the first two acquisitions, the total information provided in the Land Development Agency annual report for 2015-16 was the district the land was in and the date the acquisition was approved. There were no block details, no purchase price and no reason for the acquisition.
Second, I have struggled to get information through the annual reports and estimates hearings. I have been trying at many hearings. I have been told the information was highly confused, was inaccurate or that it was information held by a previous minister and thus could not possibly be retrieved by the current minister. You name it. There has not been transparency. There have been reasons, but there has not been transparency on this.
I want to briefly touch on the amendments that the ALP is working on and that I assume we will debate next week. I am willing to consider amendments because there are times when the minister knows important information about how directorates work that we on the crossbench and those on the opposition benches do not know. It is possible that there are places where the bill needs correction to fit with how the public service actually works. However, I would like to make it abundantly clear that the Greens will look at the amendments in the context of the damning findings of the three Auditor-General's reports that I have touched on. The Greens will only support amendments that respect the principles of transparency and good government, not amendments that are just intended to wind back transparency.
To conclude, I would like to thank Mr Coe for his constructive approach on this issue over the past eight months. Mr Coe's office has been working very cooperatively with my office on this since the original bill was tabled back in February this year. I am particularly pleased that the reporting will now be to the community rather than just to