Renewal SA Chief Executive Fred Hansen today contradicted significant parts of Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis’s defence of their controversial Gillman land deal.
Mr Hansen, the first witness to give evidence to the Legislative Council Select Committee into the deal, confirmed the Renewal SA Board had either not supported or voted against Board papers recommending the Adelaide Capital Partners (ACP) proposal at Board meetings on the 13th and 20th of November 2013.
“Contrary to Mr Koutsantonis’s claim he hadn’t tried to lobby the Board and they had asked him to come to a Board meeting, Mr Hansen confirmed that wasn’t correct and in fact Mr Koutsantonis had asked to meet the Board,” said Mr Lucas.
Bevan: “…but you actually addressed the board and they told you…”
Koutsantonis: “I answered their questions… they’d asked to speak to me, and I went into the board and spoke to the board…”
Bevan: “…and they told you and you went into that meeting knowing that they had rejected unanimously bar one member of the board… the deal.”
Koutsantonis: “I don’t know that they had rejected it then…”
(ABC 891, 31/3/2014)
“Mr Hansen also contradicted Mr Koutsantonis’s claim that the Board meeting on 28 November 2013 had approved a significantly different ACP proposal than the one they had rejected on 20 November 2013.”
Mr Koutsantonis told a press conference on 11 February 2014:
“What Renewal SA was saying was if the Government was considering accepting the proposal as was before it was amended then it should have gone to public tender.
“Fundamentally different, there are all sorts of issues that are different – for example, one is about exclusivity over the land and who can enter it.
“The Government did not accept the proposal that the board were not happy with.”
In fact, Mr Hansen stated the ACP proposal had not changed significantly at all between both of those board meetings. What did change was the drafting of the recommendations put to the Board,” said Mr Lucas.
Mr Hansen also contradicted Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis’s claim that they couldn’t go to an open tender process without revealing any intellectual property associated with the ACP bid.
“If we had invited tenders this proposition, this opportunity for South Australia of someone going out and having to raise many tens of millions of dollars to spend their money in developing a piece of land that has to be built up about three metres before it’s actually even development ready, would disappear.”
(Premier Weatherill, ABC891, 13/2/2014)
Mr Hansen agreed it was possible to construct an open tender process and still protect the intellectual property of any individual bidder.
“It is now clear from Mr Hansen’s evidence Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis have been caught out on their increasingly unsustainable claims about why they couldn’t have had an open tender process for the Gillman land.”