Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3681..
MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Planning. It relates to the EpiCentre sale. Advice provided by the ACT Government Solicitor's Office to the government prior to the EpiCentre auction recommended:
... suggesting to the LDA that the auction be cancelled or postponed and undertaking a variation to the Territory Plan.
Minister, why did you and your agencies ignore the advice of your own legal team and continue with the auction when there were clearly issues of concern surrounding it?
I seek leave to table the advice.
MR STEFANIAK: I present the following paper:
Epicentre—Block 8 Section 48 Fyshwick—Territory Plan Interpretation—Part B3—Copy of email to the General Counsel, Business and Information Services Branch, Planning and Land Authority from the Principal Solicitor, ACT Government Solicitor, dated 30 November 2005.
MR CORBELL: I am not aware of that advice.
MR STEFANIAK: I have a supplementary question. I suggest that the minister have a look at paragraph 6. Minister, was it your own personal decision to continue with the auction, even after the ACT Government Solicitor suggested the auction be postponed or cancelled?
MR CORBELL: I am not aware of any advice from the GSO to that effect. I will need to look at the document that Mr Stefaniak has tabled.
MR SESELJA: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Planning and is in relation to the EpiCentre sale. On page 6 of the legal advice as provided by the ACT Government Solicitor's Office to ACTPLA it discusses the issue of ACTPLA's interpretation of the territory plan. It says that if it—ACTPLA—says nothing, then the auction may not be as successful as it would otherwise be if there were no doubt.
If the government's own solicitors had identified that the auction may not achieve the best possible result if all bidders were not adequately informed as to the interpretation of the territory plan, why did you state in estimates on 21 June this year, "They knew what they were buying and it was clear to all parties what the potential uses were for the site"?
MR CORBELL: It was not just I who said that. It was, of course, Justice Connolly of the Supreme Court who also indicated that the lessees knew what they were buying. They were buying a lease with lease and development conditions that outlined the uses,