Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis should now be forced to provide evidence to support their claimed key reason for their decision not to go to a competitive tender at Gillman.
Mr Weatherill and Mr Koutsantonis have argued the Government couldn’t go to competitive tender because Adelaide Capital Partners would have withdrawn their offer.
On ABC radio on 8 July 2014 Mr Weatherill was asked about not going to competitive tender:
Henschke: “Can you explain why you chose not to and…”
Weatherill: “Because I would have lost this proposal.”
Henschke: “Okay, you would have lost this proposal because they told you ‘if you tender the land we won’t be involved.’”
Again last week Mr Weatherill repeated the claim on ABC radio when he said:
“…the deal wouldn’t have been there if there’d been an open tender.”
Despite these claims the government has so far failed to produce any evidence to support their claim.
In fact in a further embarrassment for Mr Weatherill, evidence last year to the Gillman Select Committee from former Renewal SA Executives Trudi Meakins and Fred Hansen directly contradict the claim.
Mr Hansen was asked directly at the Select Committee whether “ACP had ever indicated to you or your officers that they wouldn’t be prepared to participate in any other public tender process?”
In response Mr Hansen stated:
“I’m not aware of any such indication from Adelaide Capital Partners.”
In an answer to a question on notice to provide any evidence to support the claim Ms Meakins said the initial letter to the Premier from ACP in June 2013 included the following advice:
“…that international investors will not participate in a generic tender process without the required certainty of being able to proceed if the planning process is successful.”
“It is obvious from the evidence provided to the Select Committee that under certain conditions ACP would participate in a general tender process and the letter does not support Mr Weatherill’s claim,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“It is important to note that Mr Weatherill’s argument has been that he only had the initial brief meeting with ACP and all the negotiations with ACP were done by officers of Renewal SA.
“Therefore Mr Hansen and his staff would have been in a good position to know what ACP’s views were.
“Given this evidence from Renewal SA executives which conflicts with Mr Weatherill’s claims it is time for Mr Weatherill to provide any evidence to support his claim.”