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Weatherill and Koutsantonis must answer questions over Gillman land deal

The Supreme Court has found that the Weatherill Labor Government’s decision to sell 400ha of land at Gillman without going to tender was “irrational”.

On 23 December 2013, the State Government announced it had signed an agreement with Adelaide Capital Partners (ACP) to sell 400Ha of the former Multi-Function Polis site at Gillman.

Following the announcement of the deal four members of the Board of Renewal SA resigned.

The Supreme Court found that:

“It is difficult to avoid a conclusion that it would be imprudent or unreasonable to sell land by accepting an unsolicited offer without first exploring the merits and likely results of engaging in a competitive marketing and sales process…[and]…the decision by the chief executive to enter into the contract was a decision that no reasonable person in his position could rationally have made.”

Judge Blue also found that the decision had not been made in accordance with “prudent commercial principles” and that the decision by the chief executive “to enter into the contract was unlawful”, but the contract was not void.

“It is now clear that the Weatherill Labor Government failed to undertake due diligence when assessing the ACP proposal,” said Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling justifies why the State Liberals have been pursuing the Weatherill Labor Government on this matter for a year and why the State Liberals supported the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry into the deal.

“The Weatherill Labor Government’s decision to enter into this deal without proper commercial consideration may have led to a bad deal for South Australians.

“There was a significant level of concern from the general public and from businesses about the Weatherill Labor Government’s decision to sell the Gillman land without going to public tender.

“Following evidence given to the Parliamentary Committee and now the Supreme Court’s ruling, Premier Weatherill and Treasurer Koutsantonis must explain to South Australians why they refused to allow this deal to go to a competitive tender.”