Page 2129 - Week 06 - Thursday, 8 June 2017
policy about pokies when you control 489 machines? Nothing short of the Labor Club surrendering them, not selling them, will help the situation. Until then, they will keep hitting the jackpot.
The third instance is the ACT government’s MOU with Unions ACT which gives veto powers to the union over government contracts. The secrecy surrounding this deal is unacceptable. How it is negotiated, how the communication occurs, which contracts have been subjected to it and what impact it has had, are all unknown. This deal allows a handful of comrades to tick and flick businesses vying for taxpayer-funded work. The MOU must be repealed.
Fourthly, last year the Auditor-General investigated and handed down a report detailing the Glebe Park and lakeside land deals. The Auditor-General said that transparency, accountability and rigour were lacking in the government’s processes. To recap, a formal 40-page valuation put the value of a block of land at $900,000. However, without another valuation being conducted, $4 million was paid to the owners of that block. It is outrageous. Another such issue was a lakeside block where the Auditor-General concluded that the Labor government paid 50 per cent more than what the block was valued at.
What is more, there is no documentation associated with the negotiations or even a rationale for the purchase price. How you can pay above top dollar for a property with taxpayers’ money and not have documentation relating to the negotiation is beyond me. All these deals happened when Mr Barr was the responsible minister.
Fifthly, a deal that has pretty much flown under the radar is the car park deal in Woden involving the Woden Tradies. A few years ago the government sold a surface car park to the Tradies for a future development. However, in the deal that was done the government decided to make regular payments to the Tradies for parking fees. Despite the fact that the car park was only partially utilised, the government paid the club top dollar. They assumed 100 per cent occupancy rates and 100 per cent payment rates for the car park. The result is that the Tradies made a massive windfall on the deal.
The sixth issue relates to a rural lease that the government acquired for a new Molonglo suburb. It was a pastoral property and had a pastoral value of perhaps at most, I would think, a couple of million dollars. However, what did the government do? It rezoned the land before it acquired the property. So rather than buying pastoral land for perhaps a couple of million dollars, the government paid $9.25 million for this block of land because they rezoned it before they bought it, rather than doing it the other way round. Again, this was on Mr Barr’s watch at the LDA.
In another example, at a time when the government was criticising the Canberra Liberals about our lease variation charge policy, the Labor Club was redeveloping ACT Labor’s former headquarters in Braddon. Noting that the development application included 36 apartments, according to this week’s budget, that would attract a tax of $1,080,000. How much did the Labor Club pay for their lease variation? $1 million? No, of course not. Not one cent, in fact. They did not pay a cent.