Blue Mountains News

Airport Land Purchase Proves Need for Federal ICAC

By Office of Susan Templeman MP - Federal Member for Macquarie
Archived 25 Nov 2020 - Posted: 28 Sep 2020
The Morrison Government’s purchase of land near Western Sydney Airport from a Liberal Party donor for 10 times its actual value proved the need for the long-promised federal independent commission against corruption, Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said.

The Auditor General has released a scathing report into the government’s $30 million purchase of the Leppington Triangle, a 12.26 hectare parcel of land that may be used to build a second runway for the airport.

“Astonishingly, just 11 months after completing the deal the government itself valued the land at only $3 million,” Ms Templeman said.

“This is a breathtaking waste of taxpayers’ money. This Liberal Government needs to immediately explain why and how a Liberal Party donor came to be paid 10 times what the land was worth with funds from the public purse.

“This airport development is getting next to no scrutiny, and that’s why the Prime Minister needs to deliver on the promise he made nearly two years ago to establish a federal independent commission against corruption.”

According to Department of Infrastructure records, the Morrison Government had undertaken nine valuations of the land. The purchase price was four times higher than the highest of these valuations.

On the date of the purchase, the agricultural land was leased back to the seller, Leppington Pastoral Company, for 10 years, with an option to renew for a further decade. Leppington Pastoral Company has previously donated to the Liberal Party.

According to the Auditor-General:

“The Department of Infrastructure did not exercise appropriate due diligence in its acquisition of the Leppington Triangle land for the future development of the Western Sydney Airport. In the course of this audit it became clear that aspects of the operations of the department, both during and after the acquisition, fell short of ethical standards.”

“The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure must immediately address these incredible findings and explain how his Government so comprehensively wasted Australian taxpayers’ money,” Ms Templeman said.

“It’s another example of Tony Abbott’s captain’s pick for the airport site, and of how little regard the Liberal Party has for the people of Western Sydney.

“We know the airport is going ahead, but we still don’t know where the planes will be flying 24/7.

“Now we find out that we, as taxpayers, have paid 10 times what we should for a parcel of land for it.

“If we can’t trust the Morrison Government with this infrastructure spend, how can we trust them with future investments, particularly as we navigate a path out of the current pandemic?”

 
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