Internal Renewal SA documents confirm the board had transparency and probity concerns about the controversial sale of Gillman land to a developer without a tender.
One board document, which is presented as formal advice to the Government and has been seen by InDaily, rejects the proposal due to transparency and probity risks and raises concerns that the land was being sold too cheaply.
In addition, an informed source has told InDaily that the board previously voted to reject the proposal to sell 400 ha at Gillman to the Australian Capital Partners consortium without going to tender.
Concerns were also raised personally with Housing and Urban Development Minister Tom Koutsantonis at a board meeting, according to the source.
InDaily has seen a copy of board advice to Koutsantonis, dated November 20, 2013, which explicitly rejects the sale and sets out a range of concerns.
Late this morning, the State Government said the board had made a decision on November 28, 2013, to support the sale.
A board document entitled “Proposed Purchase of Renewal SA Land at Gillman”, dated 20 November 2013 and seen by InDaily, advises the government not to sell the land to ACP without a tender.
The document is identified as advice to Minister Koutsantonis and is reproduced below.
“The board of management recommends to the Minister for Housing and Urban Development:
The South Australian Government reject the ACP submission to purchase 407 ha of Renewal SA-owned land at Gillman/Dry Creek for future industrial development.
The South Australian Government offer the Gillman/Dry Creek land to the market for sale in a transparent and open manner.
“The Board of Management notes that the Minister for Housing and Urban Development will advise cabinet:
“Renewal SA’s board of management has resolved to advise the minister to reject the ACP proposal and instead offer the land to the market for sale in a transparent and open manner having regard to the following key risks:
• The lack of market testing to determine the competitively derived market value of the subject land
• The probity of accepting an unsolicited offer for the subject land and the potential for industry/community dissatisfaction with Renewal SA facilitating the sale of the subject land through a non-competitive process
“The board of management notes:
• Cabinet has the ultimate authority to approve the ACP proposal if it determines to do so having regard to whole of government considerations”
The Gillman deal was first put to a vote of the board on November 13, according to another board document seen by InDaily.
The document, entitled “Proposed purchase of Renewal SA land at Gillman”, recommended the land’s sale to ACP – but it was rejected by the board 6-0 over concerns with the sale process, according to a well-informed source. The document seen by InDaily is clearly labeled as a vote against the proposal.
After the sale was rejected, the board met with Koutsantonis.
Sources tell InDaily that the board told the minister that it strongly opposed the sale without tender.
Then, not long after, the advice transcribed above dated November 20 put the board’s concerns in writing.
The Government and Renewal SA refused to answer InDaily’s specific questions about the November 20 advice document.
A Government spokesperson told InDaily today that “the Renewal SA Board’s decision on its advice to Government was made on November 28, 2013”.
“On the 28th of November, the Renewal SA board resolved that the ACP offer: ‘“represents a good value offer based upon independent valuation advice and comparable market evidence” and that Renewal SA’s consideration of ACP’s offer has “been guided by independent probity advice’.
“The Board’s resolution noted that the proposal raises the Government strategic economic objectives and further noted that: ‘…ultimately this will be a policy decision of Cabinet’.
“The Government subsequently made the decision to accept ACP’s offer and we stand by that decision.
“This will create a key piece of economic infrastructure for SA on a piece of land which has remained dormant for 30-odd years and will lead to the creation of 1000s of jobs.”
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