Mounting evidence from the Gillman Select Committee has directly contradicted various claims made by Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis over their controversial Gillman land deal.
In a significant embarrassment to Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis, evidence from Renewal SA executives and also former board member Theo Maras has raised serious questions about the Government’s financial management and competence in managing this process.
1. Koutsantonis claim 30/31 January 2014
When asked on 30 January 2014 if the Renewal SA Board had rejected the Gillman land deal, Mr Koutsantonis said:
“…not that I’m aware of. If you have evidence of that please show it to me.”
On 31 January 2014 David Bevan (ABC) referred to Mr Koutsantonis’s meeting with the Renewal SA Board on 25 November 2013 and said Mr Koutsantonis knew when he met the Board that they had ‘rejected unanimously bar one member of the Board the Gillman deal.’
Mr Koutsantonis claimed:
“…I didn’t know that they had rejected it then.”
The Renewal SA Board meeting of 20 November 2013 unanimously passed a resolution advising Minister Koutsantonis to reject the Adelaide Capital Partners offer and this advice was emailed to Mr Koutsantonis at 5:50pm on 21 November 2013.
2. Koutsantonis claim 31 March 2014
On 31 March 2014 Mr Koutsantonis claimed on ABC radio he hadn’t asked to meet the Renewal SA Board after they opposed the Government’s proposed Gillman process but they had asked to meet him:
“I canvassed their questions – they’d asked to speak to me and I went into the Board and spoke to the board…”
Former Renewal SA CEO Fred Hansen confirmed that after receiving advice of the Board’s decision on 21 November:
“The Minister requested to be able to have a chance to meet with the Board…”
3. Weatherill claim 12 February 2014
Sarah Martin (The Australian) reported that Mr Weatherill said ‘he did not accept that Renewal SA had ever recommended selling the land through a tender process.’
“No I don’t accept your characterisation of the matter…”
Former Renewal SA CEO Fred Hansen, former Board member Theo Maras and Renewal SA Chair Bronwyn Pike all confirmed in evidence to the Committee that the Board unanimously approved a resolution on 20 November 2013 supporting an open tender process.
“It is now quite clear that many of the claims being used by Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis in trying to justify not going to competitive tender have no substance at all,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Even worse for Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis is that key players in the controversial Gillman deal are now openly contradicting their version of events.
“It is time for Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis to come clean and indicate publicly why they refused to go to competitive tender and rejected the advice of their own expert body on this issue.”