Premier Jay Weatherill’s key reason for not going to competitive tender on his controversial Gillman land deal has been debunked by evidence from Renewal SA executives.
Mr Weatherill and Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis have argued on many occasions the State Labor Government couldn’t go to competitive tender because Adelaide Capital Partners would have withdrawn its offer.
For example, on ABC radio on 8 July 2014, Mr Weatherill was asked about not going to competitive tender. He said:
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.’”
However, in a further embarrassment for Mr Weatherill, evidence from Renewal SA Acting CEO Trudi Meakins and former Renewal SA CEO Fred Hansen directly contradict Mr Weatherill.
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?’
Mr Hansen’s response was, “I’m not aware of any such indication from Adelaide Capital Partners.”
In an answer to a question on notice, 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 that letter that under certain conditions ACP would participate in a general tender process,” 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. So Mr Hansen and his staff would have been in a good position to know what ACP’s views were.
“Mr Weatherill must now explain the significant difference between his statements and the evidence given by Renewal SA executives to a parliamentary inquiry.”