Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 June 2018) . . Page.. 2229 ..
Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (4.04): For the information of members, I present the following paper:
Auditor-General Act, pursuant to subsection 21(1)—Auditor-General’s Report No 3/2018—Tender for the sale of Block 30 (formerly Block 20) Section 34 Dickson—Government response.
I seek leave to make a statement.
MR GENTLEMAN: I am pleased to table the government response to the Auditor-General’s performance audit report No 3 of 2018 entitled Tender for the sale of Block 30 (formerly Block 20) Section 34 Dickson. The report considered specific historical land transactions undertaken by a unit formerly within the Economic Development Directorate and with the supporting services of the former Land Development Agency. The audit report made a number of findings about the achievement of sale objectives for the block and whether the outcome represented value for money.
The audit report concluded broadly that the Economic Development Directorate did not conduct the tender process for block 30 section 34 effectively. It did not achieve the sale objective of pursuing an open, contestable and transparent market process, and there are indications it did not achieve value for money from the sale.
It concluded that significant weaknesses in the Economic Development Directorate’s management of the tender mean there is a high risk it has relinquished considerable financial value to the Canberra Tradesmen’s Union Club Ltd, known as the Tradies. There is a high risk that the Economic Development Directorate sold block 30 section 34 to the Tradies in breach of the Planning and Development Act 2007.
The report concluded that systems need to be implemented to prevent this occurring in the future. Importantly, all staff involved in undertaking land transactions also need to have clarity regarding expected behaviours, through well-articulated values, particularly with respect to managing the integration of probity and commercial considerations.
The government have made significant improvements in the land transactions process as part of establishing the new land entities, and we are confident we are not in the same position as when these specific historical transactions occurred.
On 1 July 2017 the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017 commenced, which abolished the Land Development Agency and established the City Renewal Authority—the authority—and the Suburban Land Agency—the agency. Legislative instruments have been notified to support the work of the new land entities, including declaration of the city renewal precinct, the land acquisition directions, the housing target determination, the statement of expectations and statement of operational intent for the authority. The Minister for Housing and Suburban Development gave her approval for the Suburban Land Agency to exercise specific functions in accordance with the act.