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Tuesday, 19 August 2003
Page: 18961

Mr Baldwin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 23 June 2003:

Was correspondence received by (a) his office or (b) his department, from the Hon. Bob Debus, NSW Minister for the Environment, ref no: NP03/01351; if so, (i) what date was it received and (ii) what action was taken in responding to requests in that letter.

Mrs Vale (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(a) and (b) Yes.

(i) A facsimile copy of the letter from the Hon. Bob Debus was received at the office of the Minister for Defence on Thursday 22 May 2003, but was not a request for a priority sale. The original letter was received by the Minister for Defence on 28 May 2003 and was passed to the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence on Thursday 29 May 2003 and registered by the Directorate of Ministerial and Parliamentary Liaison Services on the same day.

(ii) The letter requested reconsideration of the disposal action and requested the transfer of the site to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services. The letter did not contain a request to purchase the site on behalf of the NSW Government.

Defence is aware that the Hon. Bob Debus wrote to Senator the Hon. Nick Minchin, Minister for Finance and Administration, on 6 June 2003 which was after the tender period had closed raising the priority sale issue. This letter was received by the office of the Minister for Finance and Administration on Monday 16 June 2003 and forwarded to Defence on Friday 20 June 2003.

The Commonwealth has sold the property through an open market tendering process. A ministerial response has been provided to the Hon. Bob Debus.