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State Govt still sitting on Gillman offers


The State Government is still pondering five offers to develop its contentious industrial land at Gillman, five months after the closing date for expressions of interest.

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The Government has been evaluating expressions of interest in the 150-hectare parcel of land since early February, and says its assessment of the offers is ongoing.

“The submissions for the Gillman site are currently being considered as part of the normal assessment process,” said Housing and Urban Development Minister Stephen Mullighan.

“There has been no hold-up.

“Once the final assessments are completed they will be considered by Cabinet.”

However, the speed of the Government’s consideration stands in contrast to its movement on the unsolicited proposal from Adelaide Capital Partners in 2013 – an offer that became mired in controversy because it was accepted by the Government without going to tender.

ACP provided a formal proposal to the Government in August 2013 to purchase the 400ha site in three stages for up to $135 million. Cabinet first considered the offer the following month. The deal hit the slow lane only because of deep misgivings in the Urban Renewal Authority board, which was required to sign off on it.

The ACP proposal fell over on Melbourne Cup day last year  after years of controversy, including a scathing assessment by the Supreme Court and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption finding evidence of maladministration by two bureaucrats.

The more recent sale process got off to a rocky start, with Premier Jay Weatherill repeatedly describing the land as a “swamp”.

The description belied what many in the Adelaide property market understand to be the real worth of the land: it’s value as a landfill site within easy reach of the city.

The site needs fill in order to be prepared for industrial purposes, meaning it has immediate value as well as longer term prospects for a substantial return to its developer.

Indeed, the original ACP proposal involved delivering more than $2 million tonnes of fill to the low-lying land each year, before its promised development as an “oil and gas hub” and up to 6000 jobs.

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