Renewed calls for anti-corruption authority after Chief Minister betrays public

The need for Canberra’s own anti-corruption commission has been highlighted once again following fresh information that Chief Minister Andrew Barr acknowledged the Casino had “rights” to land purchased by the Labor Government under controversial circumstances, Leader of the Opposition Alistair Coe said today.

In 2015, the ACT Government purchased Block 24 Section 65 at Glebe Park for $4.2 million, despite the land having a valuation of $1 million. The purchase attracted strong criticism from the ACT Auditor-General, and is also the subject of an ongoing parliamentary inquiry because it lacked transparency, accountability, integrity and rigour.

Three months after the Labor Government purchased the block at Glebe Park, the Chief Minister signed a document stating that Aquis’ Casino has “rights” to the same land.

“This issue highlights why we need an anti-corruption commission in Canberra,” Mr Coe said.

“It has been revealed that the Chief Minister was meeting with Casino owners prior to purchasing the block at Glebe Park. Three months after purchasing the land, the Chief Minister signed a document acknowledging the Casino’s ‘rights’ to the land.”

“It seems that the real reason the Government bought this land at an exorbitant price was to sign it over to the Casino.”

“This assertion appears especially compelling when the Government’s official reasons for the purchase have gone absolutely nowhere.”

“The Government proposed the site for either a stormwater pond, moving Parkes Way or for an Infrastructure Australia bid.”

“None of these have progressed and the only viable development that seems to be in the pipeline is the Casino.”

“This is a rort; the Chief Minister has betrayed his stewardship of public funds and public trust.”

“We need to restore faith in government institutions and procurement. To do this, we must have an independent anti-corruption authority that can investigate the mounting cases of dodgy deals done under the Labor Government,” Mr Coe concluded.