December 2013

In the September update I reported that we were waiting for a review decision by the ACT Government Commissioner for Public Administration, Mr Andrew Kefford, related to the antics of two ACT government officers whose work features in this website. 

These two officers, Mr Ian Cox and Mr Robert van Aalst, provided consistently false information to the Act Government over a considerable period of time.  This site shows how the information they provided was in complete contradiction to the information available to them in government reports and files.

Mr Kefford has determined that he “unequivocally” supports the decision that the lies perpetrated by these officers can be explained as follows in the report on the issue by the Director-General of the Economic Development Directorate, Mr David Dawes:

"Your assumption about a duty to investigate GA, and what you consider to be misleading, and what you assert was or was not done, is not evidence of improper motives."


"The documents connected to EDD in preparing ministerial briefs simply reflect the thinking processes of the ACTPS surrounding the evaluation of the Williamsdale Airfield proposal."

The chain of event leading to this decision and the document from which this quote is taken can be seen on this page.

Chris Price and I had a meeting with Mr Kefford, where we put to him that this decision is in direct contravention to the relevant statute, and quoted him both instances of lying and where the Act says this is not on.  He reiterated his belief that that the decision by EDD had his “unequivocal support”, but added that we should not see this decision on his part as in any way supporting the actions of these officers. Confused?

We have subsequently pointed out to him the instances where the process of accountability for which he is responsible is simply not compliant with the Act.  He refuses to comment on this.

We placed the whole mess under the purview of the Auditor General, Dr Maxine Cooper, who has been somewhat involved, but to what extent we don’t know.

Mr Kefford recommended that we should go back to the Ombudsman if we were dissatisfied with his decision.

We pointed out that the Ombudsman had already had the file for a year, and a further reference was unlikely to result in a timely decision.  We suggested that the issue of the behaviour of government officers should be separated from the airfield decision per se.  We suggested a separate consideration of the airfield proposal by an external objective observer.

Mr Kefford negotiated a process whereby we could make a submission to the under treasurer for consideration in the budget process, even though the time for submissions had closed.  Now, the under treasurer answers to the Treasurer, Mr Barr, who altered a positive recommendation so as to stop the airfield proposal.

We felt that we had little option but to submit a proposal, while strenuously placing our objections to the process.

I spoke to an officer in the under treasurer’s office, and found that extra information might be sought from the Economic Development Directorate.  I have no reason to beleive that he has any knowledge of the background to this proposal. We have been told that it is perfectly OK for them to lie about this proposal, as described above.

This process does not instill us with confidence.

So, following the retirement of the investigator from the Ombudsman’s office, we are awaiting some information from a new investigator, and have been told that we should hear something about that process within the next few weeks.

So, where are we now?  We have a budget submission that in theory means that the government is now having another look at the proposal.  The Ombudsman is looking at the whole issue of probity again.  The Auditor General is maintaining some sort of watching brief on the whole issue.

So, one could not be confident of anything at this stage, and I feel that I could draft the response from the budget process.  It might go like this:

Thank you for your submission.  The ACT Government is committed to community consultation in framing the budget and appreciates the time and effort that many Canberrans take to become involved.

Your proposal was deemed important and a worthy contribution.

Unfortunately, due to severe budget constraints, we were unable to provide funding to advance this project this year.


We await the next interesting development.

ACTPLA no longer seems to be relevant to this process, which is somewhat surprising.  See the ACTPLA page for details.


The ACT Government took down the Deloitte Access Economics report into the airfield, referenced in this website. I have asked for reasons why this occurred and aparently it is just due to the file size and new processes.  So here it is