Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 1207 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
In terms of the extent of the knowledge within PALM or within the Government, in addition to the obvious acknowledgment by Mr Osborne with Mr Steve Wallace and Mr Neil Morgan, all senior officers in OFM, that they knew that a block had been withdrawn, they of course were also part of the negotiating team for the preliminary agreement. Mr Neil Morgan was central to the negotiation. Mr Neil Morgan knew that a block had been withdrawn. He knew the hills were no longer part - - -
Ms Carnell: But the hills were never going to be built on.
MR STANHOPE: No, but they are part of the block. That is irrelevant. But the crunch, the killer, the killer blow - I have the wrong document; I beg your pardon for a moment, Mr Speaker - - -
MR SPEAKER: That is all right. It is your time.
MR STANHOPE: It was worth waiting for. It was in your department, Mr Humphries. It is a minute by two officers who are still there, two officers who are still involved in this, officers who actually appeared at estimates: Ms Helen McKeown - I hope I have got her name right - and Ms Dorte Ekelund, senior officers within PALM. It was written on 11 July 1997, two weeks after Mr Whitcombe's proposal hit the table. I will read this. What we are debating here at the moment is: Did the Government or anybody within the Government know about the status of the Bolton leases? That is what we are discussing, not all this confusion about whether they were leases or blocks but who knew what. I go back to the comments that Mr Osborne made during estimates when he closely asked Mr Gilmour, "What did you know? Why did you not do something? Why did anybody in government not take up this issue of what was the status of the lease? Had land been withdrawn? Was it one block or three blocks? Was it three leases or one lease? What did the officers in PALM know and do about this? What did they put on the public record and what did they repeat to everybody who wants to listen?". The minute reads:
To provide you with background on Block 496 Gungahlin, currently the subject of a proposal to subdivide into rural residential blocks -
the Whitcombe proposal -
The land was compulsorily acquired in 1915 from the Bolton family. The land was part of a larger property ...
The whole property was leased back to the Boltons in two parts ... That part of the land within NSW was purchased back by the Boltons in 1935.
Block 8 Hall, with an area of 967 acres, was leased to the Boltons for a term of 50 years commencing in 1956 ...
Ashley John Bolton (the current lessee) became the registered owner in 1973 after the death of his father.