Damning evidence from former Renewal SA Board member Theo Maras today has raised serious questions about the financial management and competence of Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis.
In evidence to the Gillman Select Committee, Mr Maras said he was so strongly opposed to the Weatherill Government’s decision on Gillman that he had to resign his board position.
Mr Maras said he told Mr Koutsantonis that his claim that no one else was interested in the Gillman land couldn’t be believed because the Government hadn’t tested the market.
“Mr Maras’s evidence has ‘blown out of the water’ all of the arguments by Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis in trying to defend their decision not to go to a competitive tender over the Gillman land,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
Other evidence from Mr Maras included:
• valuations used by the Government were not ‘fit for purpose’ and didn’t take into account the fact zoning would be changed from MFP to Industrial
• valuations used by the Government didn’t take into account significant remediation costs such as significant lead contamination in the Dean Rifle Range section
• experiences of other Renewal SA projects showed going through a competitive tender process had seen returns of up to 50% higher than valuation
• there had been significant interest in Gillman land over the years and not all of the proposals required Government investment
• there had been no detailed discussion at Board level prior to Board members receiving an email on 13 November 2013 for an ‘out of session’ decision to support the Government’s Gillman proposal
• the Board had voted on three separate occasions to oppose the Government’s Gillman proposal before receiving a fourth amended recommendation
“Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis now need to come clean and explain why the Government was so insistent on not going through a proper competitive tender process,” said Mr Lucas.
“It is difficult to understand why Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis would choose to ignore the advice of the specialist government body charged with the responsibility of ensuring taxpayers get the best value from the sale of any government assets.”