Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Finance and Public Administration References Committee—The planning, construction and management of the Western Sydney Airport project—Report, dated June 2022


Download PDF Download PDF

June 2022

The Senate

Finance and Public Administration References Committee

The planning, construction and management of the Western Sydney Airport project

© Commonwealth of Australia 2022

ISBN 978-1-76093-411-8 (Printed Version)

ISBN 978-1-76093-411-8 (HTML Version)

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.

The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

Members

Chair Senator the Hon Tim Ayres ALP, NSW

Deputy Chair Senator Claire Chandler (from 3 February 2021) LP, TAS

(Deputy Chair from 4 February 2021)

Members Senator James Paterson (Deputy Chair to 4 February 2021) LP, VIC Senator Malcolm Roberts PHON, QLD

Senator Marielle Smith (from 21 October 2021) ALP, SA

Senator the Hon Murray Watt ALP, QLD

Discharged Members Senator Kimberley Kitching (to 21 October 2021) ALP, VIC Senator Paul Scarr (to 3 February 2021) LP, QLD

Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee Secretariat: Sarah Redden, Acting Committee Secretary Kate Campbell, Principal Research Officer Trish Carling, Senior Research Officer Jason See, Research Officer Brooke Gay, Administrative Officer Michaela Le Cheile, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Email: fpa.sen@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Phone: 02 6277 3846

Canberra ACT 2600 Website: www.aph.gov.au/senate_fpa

Abbreviations

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

Committee Senate Finance and Public Administration

References Committee

Department of Infrastructure Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

EIS Environmental Impact Statement

FOWSA Forum on Western Sydney Airport

KSA Kingsford Smith Airport

LAA Land Acquisition Act 1989

LPC Leppington Pastoral Company

MJD M J Davis Valuations Pty Ltd

NSW RMS NSW Roads and Maritime Services

RAWSA Residents Against Western Sydney Airport

WSA Western Sydney Airport

ix

Contents

Members ............................................................................................................................................... v

Abbreviations ................................................................................................................................... vii

Chapter 1—Introduction and the building of the Western Sydney Airport............................ 1

Referral .................................................................................................................................................. 1

Conduct of the inquiry ........................................................................................................................ 1

Acknowledgement .................................................................................................................... 2

Structure and scope of the report ...................................................................................................... 2

The need for a second Sydney airport .............................................................................................. 2

Timeline of recent events ......................................................................................................... 3

Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport ....................................................... 4

Urban development in Western Sydney ............................................................................... 5

Building the Western Sydney Airport .............................................................................................. 5

Issues raised by stakeholders and submitters .................................................................................. 7

Impact on landowners of rezoning ....................................................................................... 8

Impact of the land acquisition process ............................................................................... 11

Lack of an appropriate curfew .............................................................................................. 12

Increased air pollution and water pollution ....................................................................... 13

Communication and transparency ....................................................................................... 14

Commonwealth and state responsibilities ..................................................................................... 16

Forum on Western Sydney Airport ...................................................................................... 17

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 19

Chapter 2—Acquisition of the Leppington Triangle ................................................................. 21

Acquisition of the Leppington Triangle .......................................................................................... 21

ANAO report: Leppington Triangle purchase ............................................................................ 22

Commonwealth procurement framework .......................................................................... 23

Summary of findings .............................................................................................................. 23

Public administration, transparency and accountability ............................................................. 30

The land purchase ................................................................................................................... 30

Oversight and accountability ................................................................................................ 31

Department response ............................................................................................................. 33

x

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 33

Appendix 1—Submissions .............................................................................................................. 35

Appendix 2—Public Hearings ........................................................................................................ 37

1

Chapter 1

Introduction and the building of the Western Sydney Airport

Referral 1.1 On 9 December 2020, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 30 June 2022:

The planning, construction and management of the Western Sydney Airport project, with particular reference to:

(a) probity planning and management, risk assessment frameworks and management;

(b) land acquisition and related leases, including transactions related to the Leppington Triangle;

(c) the role and performance of WSA Co Limited;

(d) site preparation, including the realignment of the Northern Road;

(e) environment and heritage management;

(f) community engagement;

(g) transport links and supporting infrastructure;

(h) training and employment; and

(i) any related matters.1

Conduct of the inquiry 1.2 The committee advertised the inquiry on its webpage, and set Friday, 19 February 2021 as the closing date for submissions. Details of the inquiry and associated documents were made available on the committee’s inquiry

webpage.2

1.3 The committee also wrote to key state and federal government agencies and organisations, industry stakeholder groups, community groups and individuals to invite submissions. The committee received 41 public and six confidential

1 Journals of the Senate, No. 80, 9 December 2020, p. 2831.

2 See:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_an d_Public_Administration/WesternSydneyAirport

2

submissions. The public submissions are listed at Appendix 1, and are also published on the committee’s inquiry webpage.

1.4 The committee held two public hearings in Sydney as part of its inquiry, on 10 March 2021 and 29 April 2021.

1.5 A list of witnesses who appeared at the hearings can be found at Appendix 2. The Hansard transcripts of evidence can be accessed through the committee’s inquiry webpage.

Acknowledgement 1.6 After due consideration, the committee has determined to table this brief report and to refrain from making recommendations.

1.7 The committee thanks all the organisations and individuals who made submissions to the inquiry and appeared before the committee to provide evidence.

Structure and scope of the report 1.8 The report is divided into two chapters. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the committee’s inquiry. It also provides an overview of the Western Sydney Airport Project, and summarises the evidence provided to the committee by

submitters and those who appeared at hearings.

1.9 Chapter 2 examines the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ (Department of Infrastructure) acquisition of land from the Leppington Pastoral Company (LPC). This includes an overview of the Australian National Audit Office’s report into the Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport.

1.10 Chapter 2 also sets out the committee’s views in relation to the inquiry.

The need for a second Sydney airport 1.11 Since the 1940’s, various studies have been conducted into the airport needs of Sydney. With facilities at the existing Kingsford-Smith Airport (KSA) (or Mascot as it was initially called) becoming stretched, several possible locations for a

second Sydney airport have been considered. The ongoing deliberations in relation to a second airport for Sydney raised a number of questions, including:

 whether resources should be put into a second airport, or the already existing facilities at Kingsford Smith Airport be further developed;  the most appropriate location for a new airport;  the impacts a new airport would have on residents;  a new airport’s potential impact on the environment; and

3

 the most appropriate type of airport development.3

1.12 Over the years, various priorities and locations have been identified for a second Sydney airport. However, these plans have been delayed for a variety of reasons - including insufficient funding or changes of government.4

Timeline of recent events 1.13 The following timeline - commencing in March 2012 - provides a snapshot of the Western Sydney Airport Project’s most recent history:

 March 2012 - the Joint Study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney Region (undertaken by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments) identifies land in Badgerys Creek (acquired by the Commonwealth from 1986 to 1991) as ‘the best site for the development of a supplementary airport within the Sydney basin’; 5  April 2014 - then Prime Minister, the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, formally

announces Badgerys Creek as the site for Western Sydney’s new airport;6  April 2014 - the Commonwealth Government commits to jointly funding - with the NSW Government - the then $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (which includes major road and transport linkages);  June 2015 - the Commonwealth Parliament passes the Airports Amendment

Act 2015, which accommodates the master planning and relevant approvals for the construction of Western Sydney Airport;7  October 2015 to December 2015 - a draft Western Sydney Airport Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are released for public consultation;8

3 Parliamentary Library Background Paper 20, 1997-98, Second Airport - A Chronology, 29 June 1998, p. 1.

4 Parliamentary Library Background Paper 20, 1997-98, Second Airport - A Chronology, 29 June 1998, p. 1.

5 Australian Government and NSW Government, Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region, March 2012, pp. 4 and 348.

6 The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP, Prime Minister, Western Sydney Airport to deliver jobs and infrastructure, Media Release, 15 April 2014.

7 Airports Amendment Act 2015.

8 Department of Infrastructure, Western Sydney Airport Plan, July 2020, p. 3. See also, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport,

Environmental Assessment, https://www.westernsydneyairport.gov.au/media-resources/resources/environmental-assessment, (accessed 17 May 2022).

4

 September 2016 - Western Sydney Airport Environmental Impact Statement is presented to then Minister for Environment and Energy, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP;9  August 2017 - Western Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (WSA Co)

established as a Commonwealth-owned company under the Corporations Act 2001 and tasked with building the Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek;  October 2017 - the Commonwealth and WSA Co execute the Western Sydney Airport Project Deed, ‘which sets out the roles and responsibilities of the parties and under which WSA Co is fully responsible for the development and operation of the Airport’;10  May 2018 - the Commonwealth grants a site lease to WSA Co for an initial 50-year period (with the option to renew for an additional 49 years);11  July 2018 - Leppington Triangle land purchased by the Australian Government for $29 839 026 (GST exclusive), to provide future options for a second runway;12  September 2018 - Main Construction Works on the site commence;13  June 2020 - the Commonwealth and NSW Governments announce the development of the Western Sydney Airport railway line;14  2026 - operations expected to commence at Western Sydney Airport.15

Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport 1.14 In March 2019, the Federal Government announced that the new airport would recognise one of Australia’s greatest aviators, with the proposed facility at Badgerys Creek to be named the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird

Walton) Airport. Nancy-Bird Walton was, in 1933, the youngest Australian

9 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport, Environmental Assessment.

10 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 18, p. 3.

11 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 18, p. 3.

12 Australian National Audit Office, Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, Auditor-General Report No. 9, 2020-21, September 2020, p. 7. This land acquisition is discussed in Chapter 2.

13 Department of Infrastructure, Western Sydney Airport Plan, July 2020, p. 3.

14 The Hon. Scott Morrison, MP, Prime Minister, New agreement keeps Sydney Metro (Western Sydney Airport) JobMaker project on-track’, Media Release, 2 June 2020.

15 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western

Sydney Airport, https://www.westernsydneyairport.gov.au/, (accessed 17 May 2022).

5

woman to gain a pilot’s licence, and in 1950 she founded the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) and became its first president.16

Urban development in Western Sydney 1.15 As part of the planning for the Western Sydney Airport, the Department of Infrastructure advised that a deliberate effort was made to ensure that the land around the airport was protected from urban development for approximately

30 years. It noted, for example, that the distance from the end of the runway to a built-up suburban area will be over 10 kilometres.17 It argued that this ‘protected space will allow Western Sydney International to operate without a curfew, ensuring 24/7 connectivity, more jobs and increased economic benefits’.18

1.16 In addition to the new airport, a proposed new central business district - the Western Sydney Aerotropolis - will be built next to the airport to take advantage of its 24-hour operation, and improved connectivity to global markets. It is proposed that the Aerotropolis will house advanced manufacturing, aerospace and defence industries as well as an agribusiness precinct and a food production hub.19

1.17 According to the Department of Infrastructure, a 20-year partnership involving all three levels of government, and a $11.2 billion Western Sydney City Deal investment is expected to deliver:

 the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport rail line to the airport;  city-scale infrastructure projects to enhance the natural environment and provide entertainment and cultural spaces;  businesses and entrepreneurial hubs; and  health facilities and housing.20

Building the Western Sydney Airport 1.18 The Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport is being developed on approximately 1800 hectares of Commonwealth-owned land at

16 Australian Aviation, Western Sydney Airport to be named after Nancy-Bird Walton, 4 March 2019,

https://australianaviation.com.au/2019/03/western-sydney-airport-to-be-named-after-nancy-bird-walton/, (accessed 18 March 2022).

17 It is noted that at Kingsford-Smith Airport, the nearest built-up area is less than one kilometre away.

18 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Western Sydney Fact Sheet, Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport: Overview (accessed 23 May 2022).

19 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport Plan, July 2020, p. viii.

20 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport Plan, July 2020, p. viii.

6

Badgerys Creek, approximately 50 kilometres from Sydney’s central business district. The site is bounded by Elizabeth Drive to the north, Willowdene Avenue to the south, Luddenham and Adams Road to the west and Badgerys Creek to the east.21

1.19 In accordance with section 96C of the Airports Act 1996, the Airport Plan for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (the Airport Plan) consists of two main parts: the concept design and the details of the specific developments authorised by the Airport Plan, which are referred to collectively as ‘Stage 1’ or the ‘Stage 1 Development’.22

1.20 Stage 1 of the Western Sydney Airport development commenced in September 2018. In accordance with the Western Sydney Airport Construction Plan (and given the existing terrain on the airport site was made up of undulating topography) substantial earthworks were required to create a level surface to allow for the construction of the runway, taxiways and support services. The first stage of the development therefore included major site preparation, including earthworks, and removing or relocating infrastructure from the site.

1.21 Early works have also involved the realignment of Badgerys Creek Road, to minimise the impact on traffic flow around the site while the airport is being constructed. As part of the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, funding was provided for a major upgrade and realignment of The Northern Road (located between the Old Northern Road, Narellan, and Littlefields Road, Luddenham), and to construct the M12 Motorway.23

1.22 A single, 3.7 kilometre runway is located in the north-western portion of the airport site. Further development at the airport will happen in stages, as demand grows. A terminal, and other support facilities will be constructed to service around five million passengers a year. It is predicted that this will increase to 10 million passengers by around 2031.24

21 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport Plan: July 2020, pp. 12-13, and Western Sydney Airport Construction Plan: Stage 1 Development, December 2018, p. 2.

22 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport Plan: July 2020, p. 3.

23 The M12 will be a new 16-kilometre motorway with two lanes in each direction. It will include a central median which will allow for future expansion to six lanes, and connect the new airport to the M7 Motorway and the Northern Road.

24 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Western Sydney Airport Plan: July 2020, p. 13 and Western Sydney Airport Construction Plan: Stage 1 Development, December 2018, p. 2.

7

Issues raised by stakeholders and submitters 1.23 The committee received a number of submissions which expressed strong opposition to the building of the Western Sydney Airport. Submitters argued that the health of those who live in the areas surrounding the airport would be

adversely affected by increased air pollution, water pollution, aircraft noise, the lack of a curfew and traffic congestion. It was also argued that increased air traffic had the potential to cause environmental damage, particularly to areas such as the Blue Mountains National Park.25

1.24 The committee also received submissions from several landholders for whom the NSW Government’s decision to rezone land within the Aerotropolis precinct was causing significant levels of stress. Submitters indicated that following the release of the precinct plan for the Aerotropolis - which outlined the NSW Department of Planning’s vision for the area - a large amount of open space/public space had been identified and allocated and that various tracts of land had been rezoned from ‘Rural’ to ‘Environment, Enterprise or Urban’, and therefore directly and negatively impacting on the resale value of the land held by submitters (discussed further below).26

1.25 A number of submitters were particularly critical of the Western Sydney Airport Project in terms of its financial integrity. The airport project was described by various submitters as being ‘mired in unethical practices’,27 not displaying ‘proper use of funds’,28 and appearing ‘to involve corruption’.29 A key issue raised by submitters was the purchase of land in the Leppington Triangle. Stakeholders were particularly scathing of the acquisition process, and described it variously as ‘a disgrace’30, a ‘scandalous, wasteful, questionable action totally lacking in transparency’31, and a ‘misuse of taxpayer funds’.32

25 See, for example, Ms Pamela Kalkandis and Ms Cynthia Rapisarda, Submission 3, Ms Karen Taylor, Submission 4, Mr Roger Grealy, Submission 6, Ms Jenny Dollin, Submission 9, Mr Gary O’Connor, Submission 10, Ms Denise Hennessy, Submission 20, Ms Tanya Stepanov, Submission 22, Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA), Submission 35 and Ms Julie Fisher, Submission 37.

26 See, for example, Mr Jacob Farrugia and family, Submission 7, Mr Mohamad J. Karaki, Submission 8, Anne Stanley, MP, Submission 17, Ms Elizabeth Saraikin, Submission 23, Mr Andrew Gayed, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 32 and Mrs Carleen Markuse and Mrs Maria Zucco, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 9-10.

27 Ms Maria Arranz, Submission 1, p. 1.

28 Ms Sandra Newham, Submission 28, [p. 1].

29 Mr Chris Whiteman, Submission 26, [p. 1].

30 Mrs C. Markuse, Submission 12, [p. 2].

31 Ms Sandra Newham, Submission 28, [p. 1].

32 Ms Pamela and Ms Cynthia Rapisarda, Submission 3, p. 1.

8

1.26 Submitters to the inquiry detailed their reasons for opposing the establishment of a second Sydney airport. For example, while acknowledging the need for air travel, Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA) pointed to the harmful effects of aviation on Australia’s climate crisis.

1.27 RAWSA argued that aviation’s detrimental impacts, including environmental degradation, the loss of social amenity, noise disturbance, and a number of other undesirable health outcomes was well documented in global research. The group suggested that in order to overcome the problems associated with aviation, other developed countries have built high speed rail (HSR) networks to service short to medium haul transportation routes. The group argued that Australia should take a similar approach:

Various past Australian studies have shown the wisdom and benefits of building a HSR network to initially link Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, with extension later to the Gold Coast and Brisbane. A HSR network should be a priority of governments in lieu of developing more airports, runways and aviation capacity.33

Impact on landowners of rezoning 1.28 In acquiring the land for the Western Sydney Airport, the NSW Government undertook a process of rezoning the rural land in and around Badgerys Creek. Landholders asserted that this process was badly executed and resulted in their

land greatly decreasing in value, and having little prospect of a successful sale to investors or developers.

1.29 Submitters also told the committee about the impact the rezoning of land around the new airport had on their lives. They raised concerns about a lack of consultation, the lack of respect, the difficulties of seeking clarity around land valuations, and unfair and inequitable treatment.

1.30 For example, Mr Jacob Farrugia, a landowner in one of the precincts around the Aerotropolis, gave evidence at a hearing and spoke on behalf of his family and other impacted landowners. Mr Farrugia provided a summary of the situation, noting that the Aerotropolis had been rezoned into different precincts - either environmental, enterprise or urban (and no longer rural). He also explained that under the precinct plan, there had been ‘enormous and unprecedented amounts of open space and public space allocated in people’s land’34 and which had not been reflected in the SEPP35 rezoning.

1.31 Mr Farrugia indicated that the landowners he represented were not against the airport, open space or public parks, and welcomed the forecast employment

33 Residents Against Western Sydney Airport (RAWSA), Submission 35, [p. 6].

34 Mr Jacob Farrugia, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 16.

35 SEPP refers to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Aerotropolis) 2020.

9

arising from the airport. However, he argued that the rezoning made it very difficult for the landowners to sell their properties to a developer or investor, and it was the view that the state government was not offering appropriate compensation to landholders. In addition, he told the committee that:

 although some residents’ properties have been zoned ‘urban’ or ‘enterprise’, the precinct plans indicate that 100 per cent of their properties are allocated as open space - which, to a private investor or a developer, would render their blocks unsellable;  some landowners have a portion of open space on their property (under the

precinct plan) which reduces a portion of their potential sale price; and  some landowners who fall within Winamatta South Creek have been zoned ‘industrial’ and also face the problem that their blocks are unsellable.36

1.32 In summary, Mr Farrugia told the committee that most landowners felt stuck in limbo:

A lot of their properties are unsellable or worthless. There’s no clear compensation strategy or acquisition strategy in place. For a lot of people, their lives have been put on hold. … If the land is zoned as environmental under the SEPP or even if it does have good zoning but is marked as open space under the precinct plan, still making it unsellable, the community want a fair compensation plan put in place by the government so that, that way, they’re able to move on if they’re presented with circumstances where their families are suffering or they’ve got hardship. I know it’s probably unrealistic to compensate every single landowner immediately. But if a clear compensation strategy were in place, everyone would know where they stood.37

1.33 Rossmore resident, Mr Andrew Gayed, told the committee that his property had been on the market for some time, but due to its classification, he had not had any inquiries. Mr Gayed noted that this was in stark contrast to properties one street away, ‘which were going for multiple times what the landowners purchased them for and multiple times what they could even imagine they were worth’.38

1.34 At the April 2021 hearing, Mr Gayed described the situation that neighbourhood landowners found themselves in, telling the committee that:

… across the other side of the creek from us, the properties behind us where the creek separates our property, for some reason or another, haven’t had the turmoil that we’ve gone through. Only three-quarters of their property

36 Mr Jacob Farrugia, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 16.

37 Mr Jacob Farrugia, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 16-17.

38 Mr Andrew Gayed, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 32.

10

can be developed and only a quarter of it can be zoned as environmental. That seems baffling to us.39

1.35 Mr Greg Warren MP, the NSW Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, who provided a specific example of how the rezoning and subsequent land acquisition process was causing alarm and financial distress within the community:

… I spoke to a gentleman yesterday who's piece of land is looking to be rezoned under the draft precinct plan. The market valuation came back that it was worth $1 and it's unsellable. This family have invested, like I said before, their entire livelihoods into this area of land. For many of them, it's their superannuation for their retirement. To say they're devastated would be an understatement. No-one wants to take anything away from any other landowner. Whether they are large, wealthy or small homeowners, all they're asking for is to be treated with the same equitable approach as all landowners, irrespective of how wealthy they may or may not be or size of their land. If they're associated with the Western Sydney airport and the required acquisitions, they just want a fair go and they just want to be treated equitably—and I don't think that is an unreasonable request by the affected local communities.40

1.36 The impact on the community, the specific problems associated with rezoning, and the inequitable treatment of landowners was the subject of discussion at the April 2021 hearing:

Senator Chandler: Because the main rezoning issues that we’ve been talking about today are where it’s a residential property that will apparently become green space in the aerotropolis so that’s why it’s perceived as having a potentially lesser value, because what you can do with it once it is no longer yours is so much more restricted.

Mrs Markuse: Yes.

Mrs Zucco: There is also the inequity of how people are treated. This is why I’m still in this fight. The inequity is absolutely beyond anything you can imagine. We have one land landowner for who they have realigned a whole road for - the Northern Road has been realigned - and put five or six sets of traffic lights along it so that his developments can be maintained. At the finish of his land, there is another landowner who has 90-plus hectares - not 100, but over 90. They have been zoned green. This particular landowner has an underpass built under the Northern Road so that his cattle could go from one property to another. That has not been offered to us, to anybody. Where is the equity?41

39 Mr Andrew Gayed, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 32.

40 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 2.

41 Mrs Carleen Markuse and Mrs Maria Zucco, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 9-10.

11

Impact of the land acquisition process 1.37 One of the consistent concerns raised during the inquiry by small and medium landholders was about the consultation (or lack thereof) and other processes involved in the land acquisition process, undertaken by the NSW Government.

1.38 Mr Warren expressed support for the airport, arguing that the airport project is ‘a once-in-a-lifetime project that provides much opportunity’.42 In addition, he argued that the project has the potential to have a positive impact on the region, in terms of job creation, tourism and industry - including agriculture, transport and manufacturing.

1.39 Mr Warren acknowledged that given the scale of the project, it was inevitable that compulsory acquisition of land would occur. He indicated, however, that he was ‘deeply disturbed’ at the way that the land acquisition process had been approached, particularly for smaller landowners.43 He raised concerns about the level of community consultation by the state government and drew attention to the concerns held by impacted landowners, telling the committee that:

What we've seen is home owners being treated with what they feel is a complete lack of regard and respect, and an acquisition process that has not been a fair, equitable or transparent. That is the strong view of the community out there. We've ultimately seen small landowners or home owners not being consulted or treated with the same element of respect or regard that larger and perhaps more wealthier landowners have been.44

1.40 Mr Warren emphasised that the proposed draft precinct plan would have a ‘serious adverse and social effect’ on the livelihoods of hundreds of local families.45 Mr Warren also explained that many of the residents and their families in Badgerys Creek, Orchard Hills, Kemps Creek, Leppington, Rossmore, Bringelly, Luddenham (and all the other associated areas around the airport that were being considered for the acquisition) had been there for generations, and that:

Many laid the bricks for their homes with their own bare hands. Literally blood, sweat and tears went into building those homes by many of these families. Like I said before, these residents deserve the same degree of respect and dignity and a fair deal for their homes, and I am of the view—

42 Mr Greg Warren MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 1.

43 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 1.

44 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 1.

45 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, pp. 1-2.

12

and there's a very strong feeling about this out there—that they have not received any of those.46

1.41 In her submission of February 2021, Ms Anne Stanley MP, Federal Member for Werriwa, echoed the concerns raised by Mr Farrugia. Ms Stanley submitted that while many small landowners within the Werriwa electorate accept both the airport and the Aerotropolis, ‘they are however, upset with New South Wales Government’s lack of transparency regarding property acquisition’.47 Ms Stanley noted that large areas of the Aerotropolis’ precincts have been zoned ‘Environment and Recreation’, a new zoning categorisation created specifically for the Aerotropolis.

1.42 Further, Ms Stanley submitted:

Landowners demands are not unreasonable, if their land needs to be acquired, they are happy to work within the process and receive fair compensation, They simply want certainty, transparency and a timeline.

When will their properties be acquired and by which agency? To date [as of February 2021], this information hasn’t been forthcoming. Understandably, this is causing stress, anguish and health issues.48

1.43 On this issue, Mr Farrugia stated that he felt compelled to reach out on behalf of a community which was directly impacted by the land acquisition process of the NSW Government, with community members:

… currently suffering great emotional and psychological toll, due to the way they are being treated and the way the Aerotropolis has left them in limbo for an indefinite amount of time.49

1.44 The process of land acquisition in the Leppington Triangle was the subject of an Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audit. The acquisition process undertaken by the Department of Infrastructure, and the ANAO’s report and findings into the Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport is outlined in more detail in Chapter 2.

Lack of an appropriate curfew 1.45 The lack of an airport curfew was of specific concern to stakeholders - particularly Western Sydney residents. Ms Sandra Newham, for example, noted:

I do not believe a second airport should have been placed in the Sydney Basin … As a local resident I am disgusted that the people of Western

46 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, pp. 1-2.

47 Ms Anne Stanley MP, Federal Member for Werriwa, Submission 17, [p. 1].

48 Ms Anne Stanley MP, Federal Member for Werriwa, Submission 17, [pp. 1-2].

49 Mr Jacob Farrugia and family, Submission 7, p. 1.

13

Sydney have been treated like second class citizens and had a ‘no curfew’ airport dumped on our doorstep. Rightfully Sydney Airport has a curfew to protect the rights and quality of life of people nearby and under flight paths yet people in the West are being denied the same right.50

1.46 Mr Roger Grealy also indicated that it was of concern to him that the airport was slated to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He argued that:

… as Sydney airport has a curfew from 11 pm to 6 am then residents in the area of Badgery’s Creek should also have some quiet time during the night. Disturbed sleep is known to produce illnesses.51

1.47 In her submission, Blue Mountains resident, Ms Julie Fisher, pointed to the Airservices Australia website which ‘acknowledges that residents within 75 kilometres of an airport can experience aircraft noise’.52

1.48 Ms Fisher pointed to the arguments made by those who support the airport, which say that it is necessary for the project to go ahead - and for it to be a 24-hour airport - because it is a project that ‘has been in the pipeline for decades and was always meant to operate without a curfew’. She countered that:

This reasoning may have been valid if the airport had been built in the 1950s or 60s, but it is incorrect and irrelevant now due to the way in which Sydney has spread.53

Being planned as far back as the late 1940s, the airport has been rejected on several occasions in the 1970s and 1990s. When you consider the huge increase in the development of residential areas over the last 6 decades, that will be affected by a 24/7 airport in Western Sydney, you have to challenge the common-sense, trustworthiness and competence of those in government circles who decided on or support the airport project.54

Increased air pollution and water pollution 1.49 Amongst those submitters opposed to the airport development, the issue of air and water pollution were raised as significant problems.

1.50 Ms Sandra Newham argued that Western Sydney lies ‘in a low level basin that traps air pollution’, and that a second airport will trap more hazardous particles which cause respiratory illness and heart disease, and increased levels of asthma. Ms Newham also argued that flight paths as outlined in the EIS, indicate

50 Ms Sandra Newham, Submission 28, [p. 3].

51 Mr Roger Grealy, Submission 6, p. 1.

52 Ms Julie Fisher, Submission 37, p. 4.

53 Ms Julie Fisher, Submission 37, p. 3.

54 Ms Julie Fisher, Submission 37, pp. 2-3.

14

that aircraft will fly over the Blue Mountains, and ‘aircraft by-product will land in the catchment for 80% of Sydney’s drinking water’.55

1.51 RAWSA provided similar comments regarding air quality, and argued that:

Due to geographic features of the Sydney basin, Western and Southwestern Sydney communities are already subjected to the worst air quality in the metropolitan area. As coastal breezes do not penetrate these areas, coupled with the mountains forming a barrier to the west, air pollution tends to stay stationary for days on end.

Broadly available research indicates a link between the resultant pollution levels and its impact on above average health issues that are common to the Western and Southwestern areas of the Sydney region, including childhood asthma and respiratory problems as well as adult cardio-vascular disease.

The operation of a 24 hour airport at Badgerys Creek will do nothing to improve pollution levels, will increase the amount of toxic particulate matter in the air and will add substantially to the pollution and health problems of Western and Southwestern Sydney.56

1.52 Similarly, Ms Maria Arranz noted that Australia has high rates of asthma and expressed concern about how the air pollution from a 24-hour airport, and increased road traffic around the proposed Aerotropolis would impact people - particularly children and other vulnerable groups.57

1.53 Submitters also argued that in addition to the pollution from air traffic, there would be increased air pollution from fuel trucks, including those transporting fuel from Botany. Concerns were raised about pollution from an increasing number of large trucks, particularly those carrying cargo from the airport, and heading west through villages in the Blue Mountains.58

Communication and transparency 1.54 One of the issues raised by submitters - particularly residents impacted by the rezoning - was that there had been a lack of consultation by the state government on the process.

1.55 In evidence, representatives of the Community Liaison Group described to the committee the negative impacts the Western Sydney Airport Project was having on the community, with major concerns about what was described as both a lack of transparency and a lack of community consultation. The Group told the committee that:

55 Ms Sandra Newham, Submission 28, [pp. 2 and 3].

56 Residents Against Western Sydney Airport, Submission 35, [p. 4].

57 Ms Maria Arranz, Submission 1, p. 2.

58 Mr Roger Hennessy, Submission 21, [p. 2].

15

As a community, we have for many years enjoyed close relationships with neighbours, families and local support services. All this has now been turned on its head by the stroke of a bureaucratic pen, having no concern or care for residents, and the human factor in all of this is being totally ignored and overlooked. We were told at the very first public exhibition by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment - in future, to be referred to as the department - that the area was deemed as a blank canvas by the Greater Sydney Commission, led by Ms Turnbull. Residents were told by the department’s staff that they are collateral damage for the aerotropolis project, with no regard for the mental health and anguish inflected on residents through lack of transparency, consultation and deprivation of basic human rights.59

1.56 The Community Liaison Group acknowledged that while the community had been made aware of a submission process, this had proved to be ‘a complete failure with regard to obtaining information, surety or clarification of any kind from both the department and the planning partnership’. 60 The Group noted that:

Frustration is being felt very strongly throughout the entire community. This was evidenced by the contempt shown to the community even when over 600 submissions were lodged to the department, and they were condensed to only a minute paragraph within the Western Sydney Aerotropolis brochure. The same contempt was shown in the second public WASP - again, over 700 submissions were lodged to the department. And now we wait, hopefully, for an informed view of the third public exhibition precinct plans, where over 664 submissions have been lodged to the department.61

1.57 The NSW Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Mr Greg Warren MP submitted that:

There is little doubt that both the Commonwealth and NSW governments have failed to adequately consult, communicate and engage with the community in Western Sydney. A project of this scale that will impact hundreds of thousands of residents needs to occur with adequate consultation, communication and engagement.

The community in and around the WSA and Aerotropolis - including councils like Penrith, at times - have been left completely in the dark regarding major infrastructure plans and developments. Those, be it relevant Ministers at a Federal or State level, must be held accountable for their repeated blindsiding of the community.62

59 Mrs Maria Zucco, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 1.

60 Mrs Maria Zucco, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 1.

61 Mrs Maria Zucco, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 1.

62 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, Submission 5, p. 3.

16

Commonwealth and state responsibilities 1.58 Major infrastructure projects such as the Western Sydney Airport are by their very nature, complicated and consist of many ‘moving parts’. Managing a project the size and scale of the Western Sydney Airport is made even more

complicated as it involves stakeholders, such as affected landholders, navigating multiple levels of government and related bureaucracies which are engaged in the project.

1.59 Throughout the inquiry, landowners described how difficult it had been to navigate through multiple levels of government and the associated bureaucracy. The problems experienced by landowners were made even more difficult because of a lack of clarity around Commonwealth, state and local government responsibilities, and an almost perfunctory consultation process. Some submitters were particularly critical of the community consultation process, which they argued had failed to provide any clarity.

1.60 The committee was told, for example, that when the airport zoning decision was made by the state government, their properties changed in value, as did the situation regarding whether they were able to leave their properties. For acquisitions, landowners had no knowledge of whether the purchasing entity would be the Commonwealth, or the state government, or when a purchase would happen. It was noted that various decisions, having a direct impact on landholders (and made by different levels of government) could present specific risks and accountability challenges for landowners.63

1.61 Members of the Community Liaison Group noted, for example, that in an attempt to get answers for the community in regard to proposed rezoning, they had sought meetings with NSW departmental officials, with the requests declined. Mr Ross Murphy, a member of the Community Liaison Group told the committee:

The representations officially through the department and the community consultation process didn’t get us anywhere, so I approached Tanya Davies [State member for Mulgoa] myself and got a meeting with her. As a result of that, we have been able to have a number of meetings with members of state government and there has been some good dialogue coming out of that …64

1.62 Mr Andrew Gayed of Rossmore argued that there was a lack of information to explain why certain properties and landowners were being treated differently. He also expressed frustration at how difficult it was for landowners to

63 Evidence provided by Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 1-10.

64 Mr Ross Murphy, Community Liaison Group, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 8.

17

communicate with authorities and engage them in discussions - even when they were provided with expert analysis by owners.65

1.63 Mr Gayed explained that in an effort to engage with NSW Government authorities, neighbouring landowners had submitted a number of consultant reports, which showed that land and properties on both sides of the creek behind Mr Gayed’s property were similar, but treated differently by the NSW Government. He noted that:

The submissions we put to the department of planning and to the council were completely ignored and not addressed. We commissioned our own slab studies and we have combined slab studies with all of May Avenue to show that there are alternative paths. These are expert reports. They are not emotional. They are not invested in coming from another angle. They really showed that the department’s and the council’s reports were lack a lot of historical data and a lot of information. Again, they were completely ignored. So there’s a lot of frustration from landowners, myself included. We have no voice. We don’t have the political power or pull that some of the larger landowners have. So we’re just ignored, even though we have done everything the correct way. That really makes us feel like we are in hardship. Even though we want to be heard, we want the development, and we want the area to progress, we’re just treated as a by-product or as a nuisance that can just be ignored.66

Forum on Western Sydney Airport 1.64 According to the Department of Infrastructure’s website, the Forum on Western Sydney Airport (FOWSA) was established:

… to enable the views of the communities of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to be heard and taken into account in the planning and development of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport. It will also provide the opportunity for industry, local government and other stakeholder groups to be informed and provide feedback on the opportunities and challenges presented by the introduction of a new major airport in the Sydney Basin.67

1.65 A key objective of FOWSA is stated to be providing a mechanism for the Department of Infrastructure and WSA Co to update residents affected by airport operations, as well as local authorities, airport users and other interested

65 Mr Andrew Gayed, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 32.

66 Mr Andrew Gayed, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 32.

67 Australian Government Directory, Forum on Western Sydney Airport,

https://www.directory.gov.au/portfolios/infrastructure-transport-regional-development-and-communications/department-infrastructure-transport-regional-development-and-communications/forum-western-sydney-airport, (accessed 31 May 2022).

18

parties on a range of issues relating to the broader planning and development of the airport and their associated impacts. 68

1.66 There are up to 25 members on the Forum. Membership is made up of nine broad stakeholder categories, including representatives from the community, local and NSW Government, airport operators, aviation users and airlines. FOWSA meets approximately three times per year in Western Sydney, and the secretariat for the service is located within the Department of Infrastructure.69

1.67 In evidence, FOWSA’s Chair, Ms Lee de Winton, informed the committee that while Forum members are briefed on matters such as land use and acquisition, biodiversity plans, noise impacts, health impacts, construction progress, employment figures and engagement and communication with key stakeholders, the Forum has no determinative capacity in relation to these issues. Ms de Winton described the Forum as a ‘communications piece rather than a decision-making body.’70

1.68 Western Sydney residents can contact FOWSA members and have their questions tabled through the Forum, and then either provided to the Department of Infrastructure or to the NSW Government (through FOWSA’s NSW Government member).71

1.69 When questioned further, however, it became clear that the Forum itself is not responsible for accepting questions and information from stakeholders, nor is it responsible for providing feedback to stakeholders or the community. Rather, it is a ‘portal for questions and answers’ and any information, updates or presentations that are given at FOWSA meetings are communicated ‘via the members to their own constituencies’.72

1.70 While FOWSA’s primary role involves issues that are in the federal sphere, a number of the issues raised by witnesses were not federal, but state responsibilities. When asked about whether there was a similar consultation group that is being run by the NSW State Government, Ms de Winton indicated

68 Australian Government Directory, Forum on Western Sydney Airport.

69 Ms Lee de Winton, Chair, Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 20.

70 Ms Lee de Winton, Chair, Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 22.

71 Ms Lee de Winton, Chair, Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 22.

72 Ms Lee de Winton, Chair, Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 22.

19

that she was not aware of what either the Aerotropolis or the state government were doing.73

1.71 At its March 2021 hearing, officials from the Department of Infrastructure acknowledged that there had been some confusion about the roles of the Commonwealth Government and the New South Wales Government in regard to the Western Sydney Airport. Deputy Secretary, Mr David Hallinan clarified government roles, and advised:

There was a bit of confusion around acquisitions in particular. The Commonwealth has acquired properties associated with the airport and is in the process of acquiring easements attached to the airport site for the purposes of building the airport. Outside of the airport site, the Commonwealth isn't involved in acquisitions. The residential property acquisitions and other matters identified are a matter for the state government.74

1.72 Mr Hallinan also noted that:

For the airport construction itself, that's a matter for the Commonwealth. For the development of the Western Parkland City, that's a matter for the state. When it comes to transport, roads, rail lines and acquisitions attached to those, as a general principle that's a matter for the state as well.75

Committee view 1.73 The committee notes that stakeholders have expressed a range of views in relation to the Western Sydney Airport Project.

1.74 There were also several submitters who expressed support for the airport development, with many arguing that the Western Sydney Airport Project will have positive impacts, with capacity to support job creation, provide opportunities for the community, and further develop industries such as agriculture, transport and manufacturing.

1.75 Conversely, some submitters expressed their strong opposition to the project itself, and argued that the health of those who live in the areas surrounding the airport will be negatively impacted by increased pollution, noise and traffic congestion. They also raised concerns about the potential environmental

73 Ms Lee de Winton, Chair, Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 24.

74 Mr David Hallinan, Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure Group, Infrastructure, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 8.

75 Mr David Hallinan, Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure Group, Infrastructure, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 8.

20

damage that could be caused by increased air traffic - particularly to areas such as the Blue Mountains.

1.76 The committee acknowledges the concerns raised by residents, who pointed to the proposal to operate the new airport without a curfew. Residents noted that this would have a negative impact on a significant number of people, and many argued that in the interests of fairness, a curfew similar to that which operates at Kingsford Smith Airport should be introduced.

1.77 The committee also received specific evidence from stakeholders - particularly Western Sydney landowners - who signalled that while they were supportive of the airport development, their lives had been severely impacted by the decision to rezone large tracts of land around the airport and the Aerotropolis precinct.

1.78 The committee recognises the negative impact the rezoning of land by the NSW Government has had on a significant number of people. In addition to the serious financial difficulties and uncertainty these individuals and their families have been experiencing, the lack of certainty has also had a significant impact on their mental and emotional wellbeing.

1.79 The committee observed first-hand the distress caused to landowners due to the land rezoning process, and by the publicity which has surrounded the acquisition of land in the Leppington Triangle: land that was purchased for substantially more than its market rate. The committee can only imagine the level of frustration felt by those who are being told that the value of their own land is about to decrease considerably - or in some cases become worthless - when they read the media’s reporting in relation to the Leppington Triangle land purchase.

1.80 The committee acknowledges the concerns raised by submitters in relation to the lack of appropriate consultation, the lack of respect shown to small landholders, the difficulties associated with obtaining land valuations, and the unfair and inequitable treatment of landholders. It is also apparent that navigating multiple levels of government and the associated bureaucracy has created a lack of clarity and a lack of readily accessible, clear and concise information about the Project.

1.81 The committee encourages the NSW Government to reflect on its actions throughout this process and to implement any changes needed for the duration of the Western Sydney Airport Project, to ensure that landholders are consulted, engaged and compensated in an appropriate and fulsome way. The NSW Government should also improve its channels of communication about the Project, through the development of more user-friendly and clearer information for Western Sydney communities to readily access.

21

Chapter 2

Acquisition of the Leppington Triangle

2.1 Issues of public administration—including questions around transparency and accountability—were raised with the committee throughout the inquiry.

2.2 As discussed in the previous chapter, submitters described the serious, negative impact the rezoning of land around the new airport had on their lives. They also raised with the committee their concerns about the lack of consultation, the lack of respect shown to small landholders, as well as treatment they perceived as unfair and inequitable.

2.3 The acquisition of land in Bringelly from the Leppington Pastoral Company (LPC), colloquially known as the Leppington Triangle, was an area of particular concern to stakeholders. Several submitters pointed to the fact that the land was purchased with public money, and from a fund that was administered by public officials.

2.4 Numerous landholders were highly critical of the Leppington Triangle land acquisition, noting that while they were facing uncertainty about the value of their land, the Leppington Triangle had been purchased for approximately 10 times its commercial value. It was noted that this had led to serious community concerns about justification of such expenditure, and the inequities embedded in the land acquisition process.

2.5 The following chapter examines the acquisition process for the Leppington Triangle, and presents the findings of the ANAO, which in part suggested that the Department of Infrastructure did not exercise appropriate due diligence in its acquisition of the Leppington Triangle.

2.6 The chapter also puts forward the views of the Australian Government in response to the findings of the ANAO, and the grave concerns over the transaction voiced by inquiry participants.

Acquisition of the Leppington Triangle 2.7 On 31 July 2018, the Australian Government purchased a 12.26-hectare triangular parcel of land in Bringelly, NSW, from the LPC for $29 839 026. The acquisition process was undertaken by the Western Sydney Unit within the

Department of Infrastructure.1 The Department of Finance provided broad

1 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase

of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, September 2020, p. 7.

22

procedural and process advice to the Department of Infrastructure and assisted with steps to meet the requirements of the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA).2

2.8 The land, which sits next to the Western Sydney Airport site, has come to be referred to as the Leppington Triangle with its intended use to be part of a second runway for the Western Sydney Airport.

2.9 A year after the acquisition, the Department of Infrastructure’s financial statements of June 2019 (for the Financial Year 2018/19) valued the land at $3 065 000. The ANAO identified the $26 774 026 revaluation difference as a ‘significant and unusual transaction’ and commenced a performance audit of the transaction.3

2.10 As well as the ANAO audit, the matter has been subject to several independent investigation and review processes, including:

 Independent Review of the Leppington Triangle Acquisition: published by Sententia Consulting, 21 May 2021;  Australian Federal Police investigation into the Commonwealth of Australia’s purchase of land for the development of the Western Sydney

Airport, concluded 29 September 2021;  Code of conduct report by Dr Vivienne Thom; and  Culture and capability insights: The Western Sydney Unit report: published by KPMG, June 2021.4

ANAO report: Leppington Triangle purchase 2.11 On 21 September 2020, the ANAO presented its 9th report of 2020-21 to the Parliament. The performance audit report, titled Purchase of the Leppington Triangle’ land for the future development of Western Sydney Airport, made findings

around the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle by the Department.

2.12 In conducting its audit, the ANAO sought:

… to examine whether the Department of Infrastructure exercised appropriate due diligence in its acquisition of the Leppington Triangle land for the future development of the Western Sydney Airport.5

2 Department of Finance, Submission 15, p. 7; The Department of Finance is responsible for the Commonwealth Property Management Framework, including administering the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA); The Department of Finance noted in its submission that the ANAO did not make any findings, conclusions, or recommendations about its administration of the LAA.

3 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, September 2020, p. 7.

4 KPMG, Culture and capability insights: The Western Sydney Unit, June 2021.

5 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ and

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, September 2020, p. 7.

23

2.13 The report was critical of aspects of the Department’s management of the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle and raised questions around the integrity of the Department in connection with the acquisition.

2.14 The ANAO made three recommendations to the Department of Infrastructure, ‘addressing the analysis that informs spending decisions, managing probity risks and the approach to obtaining land valuations’. All three

recommendations were subsequently agreed to in a response from the Department.6

Commonwealth procurement framework 2.15 The acquisition of the Leppington Triangle was subject to Commonwealth Procurement Frameworks, which outline rules and ethics of officials’ administration and management of public funds, to procure goods and services

needed for public programs. The ANAO reviewed the Department of Infrastructure’s administration of the acquisition within the context of the following:

 The LAA  Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth)  Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs)

Summary of findings 2.16 In its audit, the ANAO applied the following criteria:

 Was an appropriate acquisition strategy developed?  Was an appropriate approach taken to valuing the land?  Were decision-makers appropriately advised?7

2.17 On the basis of this criteria, the ANAO report made numerous and significant findings about the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle, as detailed below.

Land acquisition strategy 2.18 The Department of Infrastructure first developed a strategy to acquire the Leppington Triangle that was finalised in 2016. As outlined in the Commonwealth Government Gazette notice C2018G00092, the stated purpose

for the use of the Leppington Triangle was to facilitate the:

6 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 6.

7 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 7.

24

… development and future expansion of Western Sydney Airport as envisaged by the Airport Plan for Western Sydney Airport, determined on 5 December 2016.8

2.19 In examining the department’s land acquisition strategy, the ANAO took into consideration whether the exercised approach was appropriate for the department’s stated purpose. The ANAO found that the strategy was ‘not appropriate’ and that it had significant identified shortcomings, including that:

 it was focussed on incentivising an unwilling seller to dispose of their land some 32 years in advance of when it was anticipated to be needed;  the underlying analysis overstated the identified benefits, did not quantify costs and did not address risks; and  the acquisition approach eventually employed departed from the

approved strategy.9

2.20 The ANAO reported discrepancies around why the decision to commence acquisition of the land in 2016 was made. The Australian Government had previously attempted to acquire the Leppington Triangle in 1989, as part of a broader airport land acquisition process, but was unable to reach an agreement with the LPC and subsequently determined to exclude it from the process.10

2.21 The Airport Plan for Western Sydney Airport, determined by then Minister for Urban Infrastructure, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP on 5 December 2016, authorised the Stage 1 Development of the Western Sydney Airport, which would operate upon as a single-runway airport. It included indicative long-term designs for initial and future stages of the Airport, including the development of a second runaway.11 Acquisition of the Leppington Triangle land was not an immediate priority as it was not needed for Stage 1, was not expected to be needed until post 2050, and furthermore at that time, subsequent development stages had not yet been conceived or approved.

2.22 The Department had previously had dealings with LPC in the development of the Northern Road, notably by readjusting the route of this road so that it ran through Commonwealth land as opposed to through land owned by the LPC. In commencing an early purchase, the Department stated that it sought to capitalise from the ‘goodwill’ it considered had been created by this concession

8 Australian Government, Lands Acquisition Act 1989 Pre-Acquisition Declaration - Bringelly NSW, Gazette Notice C2018G00092, 12 February 2018

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018G00092.

9 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, September 2020, p. 18.

10 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, September 2020, p. 19.

11 Australian Government, Western Sydney Airport, Airport Plan: December 2016, pp. 20-22.

25

to the LPC. However, the ANAO noted that this was inconsistent with examined departmental records that identified the LPC as an unwilling seller, and that the strategy notably did not explain:

… the disconnect between advising that the land should be acquired early to capitalise on goodwill, while also advising that the department should incentivise LPC’s cooperation. 12

2.23 Regarding financial considerations, the ANAO reported that:

 Appropriate consideration was not given to costs and benefits when deciding to acquire the land early.  The benefits identified by the department in its advice was questionable and there was no documented consideration of costs.  The department did not demonstrate that the benefits of acquiring, and

paying for, the land some decades in advance of need outweighed the cost to the Australian Government.13

2.24 Issues around probity were also reported by the ANAO. Particular concerns were voiced around whether probity requirements had been accurately followed, and also about the manner in which some direct engagements with landowners had been conducted by Department of Infrastructure staff— notably, that meetings with the LPC landowner were held in coffee shops, with no record of discussions.14

2.25 In relation to these undocumented meetings, Group Executive Director, (Performance Audit Services Group) of the ANAO, Ms Lisa Rauter, summarised the ANAO’s concerns, telling the committee that:

Any meeting with a party where there is potentially a financial transaction between the Commonwealth and that party should be documented because it raises perceptions, if nothing else, about probity and potential conflicts of interest. If those discussions lead to decisions on the basis of information within the department, that should be documented.15

2.26 Finally, despite the Department initially agreeing to pursue acquisition by a compulsory process, the strategy was changed to acquisition by agreement with

12 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 31.

13 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 18.

14 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 39.

15 Ms Lisa Rauter PSM, Group Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 26.

26

the landholder. The ANAO noted that there was no record from a departmental decision-maker approving the change.16

2.27 The Department of Infrastructure told the ANAO that the decision to change the process was ‘seen as more of a technical change within the remit of the relevant’ senior executive officer in the Department. However, the ANAO considered it to be a more significant decision with broader implications.17 In evidence, Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, (Performance Audit Service Groups of the ANAO) highlighted the ramifications to transparency of abandoning compulsory acquisition, saying that:

Had the Department of Finance progressed with that, it would have meant a delegate of the finance minister, most likely, doing the sign-off. We think that might have brought some additional scrutiny to it.18

Land valuation 2.28 As part of its audit, the ANAO examined and produced findings on whether the land valuation approach undertaken by the Department was appropriate. It concluded that the valuation approach taken by the Department was ‘not

appropriate’ and that it ‘inflated the value of the land’ leading the Australian Government to overpay.19

2.29 The ANAO raised concerns about the single valuation of the market value of the land that was obtained jointly by the department and the LPC. The valuation was procured by M J Davis Valuations Pty Ltd (MJD), as suggested by the LPC and agreed to by the Department on the basis that were no conflicts of interests.20

2.30 In evidence, Mr Boyd noted that a joint valuation for a purchase of this scale was not normal. Mr Boyd compared the transaction against other procurement projects and valuations undertaken by the Department, saying that they ‘weren’t used there either’.21

16 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 36.

17 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 59.

18 Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 30.

19 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 41.

20 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, pp. 42-43.

21 Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 22.

27

2.31 Ms Rauter further explained that, whilst there may be circumstances where the department may ask the seller to submit their own valuation, such a valuation would then be subsequently compared against a Commonwealth one. Ms Rauter suggested that ‘accepting a single source valuation for such an important valuation and also accepting the valuer put forward by the seller were certainly unusual’.22

2.32 The ANAO also identified that the Department gave MJD ‘inappropriate instructions on the valuation approach to be used and the basis on which the current market value of the land was to be assessed’, including that MJD use a ‘desktop valuation only’.23 The Department did not record why it instructed MJD to use such a valuation approach, but given that public money was at stake, the ANAO took the view that ‘procuring a Full Speaking Valuation was warranted’.24

2.33 Most alarmingly, the ANAO reported that the valuer themselves expressed concerns with the instructions. Mr Boyd told the committee that:

… the valuer himself was actually raising fairly significant concerns with the department about the instructions he was being given, even to the point of actually telling the department that it should not be referring to his work as a valuation report because of the way the department had circumscribed what they would allow the valuer to do. For example, the valuer wasn't allowed to go on site. If you want a valuation, in these circumstances, you should be looking at a full speaking valuation.25

2.34 The ANAO also remarked that the valuation notably relied on speculative re-zoning potential and lacked consideration of negative factors, such as airport noise and developmental controls that may have lowered the value of the land.26

2.35 On 2 August 2017, MJD submitted a draft valuation report to the Department which provided an indicative value range of the land as being between ‘$28,500,000 - $32,000,000’ as well as an ‘assessed market value at $30,000,000 or

22 Ms Lisa Rauter PSM, Group Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 22.

23 In a Desktop Assessment, the valuer relies on documentation, does not inspect the property and produces an ‘Indicative Assessment’ of its value.

24 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 45. In a Full Speaking Valuation, the valuer undertakes a detailed site inspection, and all relevant enquiries are undertaken.

25 Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 22.

26 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 49.

28

$220 per square metre’.27 The ANAO characterised this final valuation as a ‘restricted valuation’, due to the above-mentioned deficiencies, but noted that the Department accepted it without any edit.

2.36 In comparison, in a valuation procured by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in 2017, the land was valued at $50 per square metre, equating to 23 per cent of the $220 per square metre indicated by the Department’s draft valuation. While the RMS NSW valuation was shared with the Department, the ANAO noted that the Department did not take any action in response to the fact that RMS NSW had valued the land at a substantially lower amount.

2.37 The ANAO therefore formed the view that the valuation approach taken by the Department in the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle was inconsistent with both precedent within the Department itself, and with the NSW Government’s valuation approach for the same land. The ANAO concluded that the Department’s decision to spend public money based on an ‘approximate mid-point of an indicative value range that spanned $3.5 million and was derived from a Restricted Assessment’ was not shrewd and that the Department should have procured a full valuation.28

2.38 Furthermore, the ANAO reported that the Department did not ‘provide the ANAO with accurate answers when questions were first asked about the valuation approach, which was not ethical behaviour’.29

2.39 The absence of any reasonable explanation on the valuation approach, Mr Boyd said, is what led the ANAO to ‘reach some fairly strong conclusions around the ethics of what departmental officials had done in respect of this transaction’.30

Advice to decision-makers 2.40 The ANAO made significant findings around the actions of the Department of Infrastructure, and its briefing of relevant decision-makers. The ANAO examined the extent to which decision-makers were ‘appropriately advised on

the land acquisition through the provision of sufficient, relevant and reliable information’ from the Department.31

27 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 54.

28 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 57.

29 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 11.

30 Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 22.

31 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 57. Decision-makers included the

29

2.41 Ten written briefings on the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle were submitted by the Department of Infrastructure to decision-makers across a four-year period from November 2015 to November 2019.32

2.42 In its report, the ANAO concluded that decision-makers were not properly advised and was critical of the content—or lack thereof—of the written briefings. During the inquiry, representatives of the ANAO provided additional comment to the committee, and pointed out the apparent failure of decision-makers to inquire further into the why the briefings were lacking relevant information.

2.43 The ANAO specified that the advice provided in the written briefings was inadequate, unreliable, and commonly omitted (or made little reference to) relevant information such as:

 The method of acquisition — decision-makers were not advised about the acquisition method changing, from a compulsory process to being acquired through agreement with the landowner. One briefing made in July 2018 incorrectly stated that it was compulsory agreement.  The purchase price — the basis on which the market value of the land was

to be calculated was defined in some briefings, yet all failed to include the final value. It was not made apparent that the Department intended to pay a per hectare rate that far exceeded all known valuations of the land.  Value for money — only one of the ten briefings referred to the value for money which could be derived for the Commonwealth, from the acquisition of the Leppington Triangle. In the ANAO’s view, this represented a significant oversight as, per Commonwealth Procurement Rules, achieving value for money is a key consideration in ensuring that public resources are being used efficiently and effectively.33

2.44 Considering the apparent lack of information that some of the written briefings contained, Mr Boyd further detailed some concerns around the actions of the decision-makers, saying that the Department would go to:

… the relevant deputy secretary, copying in the chief financial officer, saying, 'You should approve spending of up to $31.78 million to buy something for $30 million dollars.' So we have questions on that. Why wouldn't a decision-maker say, 'Why am I being asked to approve nearly $2 million dollars more than it's going to cost?'

head of the Western Sydney Unit, other senior officials in the Department of Infrastructure, and/or portfolio Ministers.

32 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 57.

33 ANAO, Auditor General Report No. 9 2020-21: Purchase of the ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land

for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport, p. 8.

30

… certainly when you look at the 6 March brief, the question we have is: why wouldn't a deputy secretary and a chief financial officer be asking questions about this, such as: 'You say you got a valuation, but why isn't it attached? Can I see that?' If they'd looked at the valuation report, that might have raised some concerns.34

2.45 Ms Rauter expanded on this point further, and noted the requirements of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules:

The other element, I guess, is not just what the decision-makers should have asked for but the efforts that the department goes to to get best value for money for the Commonwealth. What we couldn't see in here is that all efforts were made to get the best outcome for the spending of Commonwealth money. That's something we have seen in other audits, that there is a negotiation tactic or there are comparisons with options made. We just couldn't see that effort being made to get the best value for money, for taxpayers, in this situation.35

Public administration, transparency and accountability 2.46 The ANAO report enlivened public scrutiny on current Commonwealth procurement activities, which was reflected in the evidence received during the inquiry. The purchase of land in the Leppington Triangle, and the process

around it, was of particular concern to a number of submitters, in terms of both the administration of public money and community perceptions and expectations around the activities of the Commonwealth.

The land purchase 2.47 At the committee’s March 2021 hearing, Mr Greg Warren MP, the NSW Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, raised concerns about the inequities embedded in the land acquisition process between small landowners, and others, saying:

… if you're one of these smaller landowners who's about to lose your home or have it devalued so much that it's worth nothing and you can't even sell it, if you open the paper and you read about a parcel of land valued at $3 million but given $30 million for it, you can only begin to imagine how those local families and residents must feel when they've invested their entire livelihood into their homes.36

2.48 At its April 2021 public hearing, Mr Geoffrey Watson SC, Director of the Centre for Public Integrity (CPI), told the committee that the purchase of the land was ‘unjustifiable’. He pointed out key areas of broader concern—namely, the

34 Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 24.

35 Ms Lisa Rauter PSM, Group Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group, ANAO, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 30.

36 Mr Greg Warren MP, Shadow Minister for Western Sydney, New South Wales Parliament, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 3.

31

limitations of the ANAO and cuts to its funding, and the lack of an existing suitable federal integrity agency.37

2.49 Mr Watson went on to note that the land purchase was made with public money, from a fund administered by public officials; facts which had led to serious community concerns:

On a fairly regular basis I’m asked to speak on the subject of public administration, including transparency and accountability. Since Leppington Triangle became public in September 2020, I have invariably - and by ‘invariably’ I mean every time - been asked questions regarding what went wrong regarding the sale of land for 10 times its commercial value. The repeated questioning is the clearest indication that this is a matter of disquiet to the community at large.38

2.50 Mr Watson noted that there are inherent risks involved in managing projects such as the Western Sydney Airport. He argued that projects of the size and scale of the airport project - which also involve multiple levels of government - ‘inevitably run over budget and there are always problems at the edges about abuse of the contracting systems’.39

Oversight and accountability 2.51 The importance of the ANAO was stressed during the inquiry, particularly regarding the unique role it plays in examining the administration of taxpayer’s money and informing Parliament of any deficient processes that are uncovered.

Mr Watson remarked that:

… except for the good work of the Australian National Audit Office in identifying this issue, we wouldn't know anything about it. But, given the Audit Office conducts random audits, we do not know how many Leppington Triangles are out there that we haven't heard about.40

2.52 Mr Watson argued that the ANAO must be suitably funded and resourced to continue its function as a key facilitator of accountability and transparency. Further funding of the ANAO could also lead to improvement of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. Mr Watson commented:

Imagine if you could get the advice of the people in the Audit Office to tell you how to recraft, redraw and enforce the Commonwealth Procurement Rules. That would be a great advantage. But, at the moment, they don't have

37 Mr Geoffrey Watson SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 11.

38 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 11.

39 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 12.

40 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 11.

32

the funds to do that. Every cent that they're getting is being spent on their auditing processes, but it could take on a fantastic role in terms of advising, consultation and redrafting them.41

2.53 Further, Mr Watson argued that given there were processes readily available to acquire the land at market value:

… it would be impossible in the circumstances to justify a payment that is more than market value of the land, and that a purchase at 10 times the market value of the land must show that the decision was one of two things. It had to be the product of a gross act of incompetence on the part of the public officials concerned, or it had to be the product of corruption.42

2.54 When asked by the committee whether he could recommend particular measures that would make the treatment of landowners more equitable, Mr Watson said:

I am no expert in the area of contractual procurement, but I can tell you this much: what you could do is control that at that kind of level and also have an independent probity auditor who circles any of these sorts of transactions - which are certain, incidentally, to arise - so that there is a degree of fairness. … I would have thought that an independent probity auditor who was constantly engaged in looking over the shoulders of those who are in charge would be a good idea, and that’s the sort of advice which I imagine you’d get from the Audit Office or a federal integrity agency, if you had one.43

2.55 Similarly, in its submission, the CPI submitted that ‘the Leppington Triangle acquisition is a case study in the weakness of existing accountability mechanisms in respect of Commonwealth procurement’.44

2.56 The CPI considered that such shortcomings could be strengthened by:

 addressing the weaknesses identified [in its submission] in respect of the enforcement of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules;  expanding the powers and resources of the Auditor-General and ANAO to enable them to have a greater role in ongoing monitoring of

procurement processes; and

41 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 11-12.

42 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, p. 11.

43 Mr Geoffrey Watson, SC, Director, Centre for Public Integrity, Committee Hansard, 29 April 2021, pp. 12-13.

44 The Centre for Public Integrity, Submission 14, p. 1.

33

 establishing a fit-for-purpose National Integrity Commission, which would be best-placed to tackle substantial and/or systemic breaches of procurement processes.45

Department response 2.57 The committee sought evidence regarding the ANAO report and the nature of the transaction from the Australian Government over the course of the inquiry.

2.58 In its submission, the only reference made by the Department of Infrastructure to the ANAO report, and the transaction regarding Leppington Triangle, was a short paragraph that said:

The Department has accepted the report’s recommendations and is taking action to address shortcomings in processes and decision-making identified by the ANAO.46

2.59 However, in evidence, Ms Pip Spence, then the Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Infrastructure, reaffirmed to the committee that the department took ‘the findings of the ANAO audit very seriously’.47

Committee view 2.60 The purchase of the Leppington Triangle from the LPC has been subject to a number of inquiries and investigations, highlighting the significant shortfalls in public administration that the purchase represents. It is clear that this

transaction has breached the social contract between the Commonwealth and the public, by not providing any clear value for money and by creating arbitrary differences between landholders with varying degrees of access to decision-makers.

2.61 The ANAO provided clear evidence of the failings in administration by the Department of Infrastructure, in the purchase of the Leppington Triangle land. The committee supports the findings and recommendations made by the ANAO and is of the view that the Department should provide an update to the Parliament on its progress implementing the recommendations.

2.62 There has been a substantial amount of scrutiny already applied to the Leppington Triangle purchase, and the actions and failings of the Department of Infrastructure. Notwithstanding this, it is the committee’s view that the scale of the Western Sydney Airport Project, and the vast amounts of public money involved, warrants the ongoing oversight of the Project by the 47th Parliament.

45 The Centre for Public Integrity, Submission 14, p. 1.

46 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Submission 18, p. 4.

47 Ms Pip Spence, Chief Operating Officer, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, Committee Hansard, 10 March 2021, p. 16.

34

2.63 The committee suggests that the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, with its ongoing oversight role of the Department of Infrastructure, continue to monitor progress of the Project and ensure—via the Estimates process—the proper allocation and use of Commonwealth funds.

2.64 It is also clear from the views put forward during this inquiry, from the serious administrative and acquisition issues around the Leppington Triangle purchase, and other recent examples of public administration (like the Commuter Car Park Fund, which this committee also examined), that a federal integrity body must be established as a matter of priority.

2.65 The incoming Labor Government has committed to establishing an independent and powerful national integrity commission. This commission will promote proper public administration and provide a vital accountability measure to rebuild public trust in the administration of Commonwealth funds. It will also ensure that any future significant Commonwealth transactions, like that of the Leppington Triangle, represent value for money for the taxpayer and adhere to the relevant Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

Senator the Hon Tim Ayres Chair

35

Appendix 1 Submissions

Submissions 1 Ms Maria Arranz 2 Ms Christine Curtis 3 Ms Pamela Kalkandis and Cynthia Rapisarda 4 Ms Karen Taylor 5 Mr Greg Warren MP 6 Mr Roger Grealy 7 Mr Jacob Farrugia 8 Name Withheld 9 Ms Jenny Dollin

 9.1 Supplementary to submission 9  9.2 Supplementary to submission 9

10 Mr Gary O'Connor 11 Mr Peter Ingall 12 Name Withheld 13 Western Sydney Airport 14 The Centre for Public Integrity 15 Department of Finance 16 Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia 17 Ms Anne Stanley 18 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and

Communications 19 The Liverpool City Council 20 Ms Denise Hennessy 21 Mr Roger Hennessy 22 Mrs Tanya Stepanov 23 Name Withheld 24 Mr Tony Adamski 25 Mr Timofei Stepanov 26 Mr Chris Whiteman 27 Ms Sonia Bennett

 27.1 Supplementary to submission 27

28 Ms Sandra Newham 29 Name Withheld 30 Mr John Carpani 31 Dr Shumi Akhtar 32 Name Withheld 33 Mr Trevor Neal

36

34 Mr Keith Dorrian 35 Residents Against Western Sydney Airport Inc. 36 Mr Chris Maher 37 Ms Julie Fisher 38 Dr Mike Freelander MP 39 Name Withheld 40 Confidential 41 Confidential 42 Confidential 43 Confidential 44 Dr Eric Ancich 45 Dr Anthony Green 46 Confidential 47 Confidential

Tabled Documents 1. Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications - Table: land acquisitions undertaken for the Western Sydney Airport between 2014 and 9 November 2020, tabled at a public

hearing in Sydney, 10 March 2021.

Additional Information 1. Correspondence (dated 23 March 2021) from Mr Simon Hickey, CEO of Western Sydney Airport Co. providing a clarification in relation to evidence he provided at the hearing on 10 March 2021.

Answers to Questions on Notice 1. Answers to questions taken on notice on 10 March 2021 by Western Sydney Airport Co. Answers received 31 March 2021. 2. Answers to questions taken on notice on 10 March 2021 by the Department of

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. Answers received 7 April 2021. 3. Answers to questions taken on notice on 10 March 2021 by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications.

Answers received 12 April 2021.

37

Appendix 2 Public Hearings

Wednesday, 10 March 2021 Fraser Suites 488 Kent Street Sydney

Mr Greg Warren MP, Private capacity

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications  Mr David Hallinan, Deputy Secretary, Infrastructure  Ms Pip Spence, Chief Operating Officer  Ms Jessica Hall, First Assistant Secretary, Major Transport and

Infrastructure  Mr Richard Wood, First Assistant Secretary, International Aviation, Technology and Services  Mr Greg Whalen, Assistant Secretary, Program and Shareholder

Management

Australian National Audit Office  Mr Brian Boyd, Executive Director, Performance Audit Services Group  Ms Tracey Bremner, Senior Director, Performance Audit Services Group  Ms Lisa Rauter PSM, Group Executive Director, Performance Audit Services

Group

Western Sydney Airport  Ms Shelley Turner, Chief Financial Officer  Mr Simon Hickey, Chief Executive Officer

Thursday, 29 April 2021 Fraser Suites 488 Kent Street Sydney

Community Liaison Group  Mr Joe Herceg  Mr Ross Murphy, (via teleconference)  Ms Carleen Markuse  Ms Maria Zucco

The Centre for Public Integrity  Mr Geoffrey Watson SC, Director

38

Mr Jacob Farrugia, Private capacity

Forum on Western Sydney Airport (FOWSA)  Ms Lee de Winton, Chair

Mr John Carpani, Private capacity

Ms Gabriella Condello, Private capacity

Mr Andrew Gayed, Private capacity

Mr Sam Aloi, Private capacity