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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 2594..

MR SESELJA (continuing):

Each shop can be a maximum of 3,000m2

There can be a number of shops on site and each shop can be maximum 3,000m2.

The key question is twofold: why were ING and Austexx apparently treated differently? Both came to ACTPLA seeking clarification, but only one got a response from ACTPLA. The other got a response from the LDA. ACTPLA's response appeared to give some information to Austexx, whereas the response to ING did not. It essentially told them to go away. This meeting and this letter happened two days apart. Yet we have two prospective bidders getting two different pieces of information—one helpful, one unhelpful—from two different agencies. The question is: why was it referred to a different agency? Why did ACTPLA not answer it? Why was the LDA's answer to ING that much less forthcoming with crucial information?

If there is any doubt on this matter, we have a later email, on 8 November, to Rob Purdon on behalf of Austexx from Hamish Sinclair, which clearly says:

... a "shop"is limited to 3,000m2 per establishment, NOT by Crown lease.

This is correct ... the 3,000m2 limit could apply to a number of individual establishments ... within a larger Crown lease for the site held by a single lessee.

This needs to be resolved. This is a serious breakdown in this process. Why was one prospective bidder getting different treatment and different answers from two different agencies?

We essentially have here two different bidders, both coming to the ACT Planning and Land Authority, seeking clarification in the context of significant confusion. On 4 October, we get one answer from ACTPLA to Austexx. On 6 October, we get a different answer, a much less helpful answer, to ING from the LDA. The question is: why did this occur? This, to me, appears to be quite outrageous. It is outrageous, and the minister really needs to clarify for the people of the ACT and the Assembly why this has occurred, what investigations he is making into this, and whether he is still satisfied that this process was completely fair and completely objective. These documents go against what the minister has said numerous times in the media on a number of issues. It contradicts much of what the minister has said.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.24 pm.

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