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Howard avoids coming clean over ADI sale.

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May 13, 2004




Prime Minister John Howard is keeping the people of western Sydney in the dark by refusing to release the full details of the Government’s deal with ADI developer Delfin Lend Lease.

Federal Member for Chifley, Roger Price MP, has raised his suspicions about a number of aspects of the sale of the ADI site at St Mary’s.

“The Government had no authority to promise that a 100 hectare park and sporting complex would be built on the land - any such commitment was outside the boundaries of its contract with Delfin Lend Lease,” said Mr Price.

“If it had made a financial contribution to the project, it would have been a different matter. But no funds were ever put towards the construction of recreational facilities.”

Mr Price asked the Prime Minister during Monday’s question time to explain these anomalies.

Mr Howard could not answer on the spot but provided an unenlightening written response the following day:

The government gave detailed consideration to land use issues, including the development of a recreation park at the St Marys site, in the context of the ComLand scoping study, which was announced in the 2002-03 Budget and completed in March 2003.

As a consequence, Lend Lease has undertaken to develop a 100 hectare park and sporting precinct at St Marys under the ComLand Share Sale Agreement…

While the terms of the Sale Agreement contain information that is commercially sensitive, I can confirm that the facility will be funded and provided by Lend Lease…

“Mr Howard has completely evaded the questions surrounding the sale of the ADI site,” said Mr Price.

“It is his duty to tell the public why he made a promise he had no authority to make -either he’s trying to cover up Jackie Kelly’s incompetence for orchestrating this whole affair or he’s trying to sweep a shady deal under the carpet.”

Mr Price said the Prime Minister should also explain why his Government sold valuable land for such a pittance - a figure of somewhere between $101 million and $117 million, according to the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Administration.

Not satisfied with Mr Howard’s response, Mr Price on Thursday May 13 lodged the following Question on Notice to the Prime Minister:

*3573 MR PRICE: To ask the Prime Minister— (1) Further to the answer to my question without notice (Hansard, 11 May 2004, page 28136) and his subsequent letter to me, at the time of the execution of the ComLand Share Sale Agreement on 22 January 2004,

was the size of the central park (the location of the sporting complex) on the ADI site less than 100 hectares; if so, what was its area.

(2) Is expanding the central park to 100 hectares dependent on excising land from the regional park; if so, how much land needs to be excised.

(3) Is excising land from the regional park dependent on state government approval; if so, has he written to the Premier of NSW; if not, why not.

(4) Does the above ComLand Share Sale Agreement stipulate that $10 million be spent on the park, as claimed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, or $6 million.

(5) Does the $6 million include expenditure on roads and other

infrastructure other than sporting facilities.

(6) In respect of the sporting facilities to be provided, (a) how many

outdoor playing fields are planned and for which sports are they intended, (b) how many synthetic all-weather playing fields are planned and for which sports are they intended, (c) how long will the cycleway and walking trails be, (d) what facilities will be provided in the picnic and barbecue areas, and (e) what is the individual cost of each facility planned.

For further information contact Jehane Sharah on 02 6277 4872 or 0417 416 144