December 2014

I think there can be absolutely no doubt now that the process is corrupt.

The ACT Government acknowledges that the information originally provided by public servants back in 2007 was categorically wrong, but in the latest advice says it doesn’t matter anyway.

The key point in the ACT Government’s argument is that the airfield will not provide a commercial rate of return.  We have conducted extensive FOI enquiries around this issue and can find no policy related to infrastructure investment where a commercial rate of return was considered, and there is no policy document that references a rate of return.  When you think about it, you would not expect that to be the case.  If it were, we would never see road improvements nor any other change to existing community infrastructure.

This point has been made on various occasions, and ignored.

Over the last few years there have been four separate occasions when we have managed to engage officers of the ACT Government.  That is, we have had conversations or communications that have led us to believe that they understand that there is an issue that needs consideration.  On each occasion there has been an abrupt withdrawal from further engagement.  We have been led to believe either that there would be an investigation into the behaviour of the officers who have killed the project, or into the project itself, and then it stops without the investigations being made.

Two recent examples.  This letter from the Commissioner for Public Administration offered a mechanism for a reconsideration of the airfield proposal.  We followed the advise and provided a submission in November 2013.  The submission was in course forwarded for consideration.  No consideration of the submission was ever made.  That is, it was buried.

As recently as October this year the Director-General of the Chief Minister’s Directorate and head of service, Ms Kathy Leigh wrote to me.  The last sentence of this letter reads: “Additionally you may wish to provide a submission to my Directorate for a fresh consideration of an updated Williamsdale airfield proposal.”

In response, we suggested that the ACT Government engage a consultant to consider the existing evidence and provide an independent report.

On the 26th of November we received this reply which included the following statement.:  “Accordingly, and until further public or political interests alter the circumstances your suggestion to engage an aviation consultant will not be acted upon…..”

That is, again the opportunity to get to the truth of the situation was reversed.

We now have nowhere to go with the ACT Government. They have refused to engage any of their accountability measures, and while not defending the reasons for their decisions are absolutely resolute that they will not change them.

This leads to two conclusions.  Firstly, it is clear that some influence is being brought to bear on the issue.  There is no other reasonable conclusion to draw from the chain of events. That is corruption.

Secondly, there is no reason to assume that this example of corruption stands alone.  There are a range of people within the ACT Government who were in a position to address this situation and they did not.  So, presumably they would not address other instances of corruption.

We now have two separate avenues to continue.  I will try again to gain some media attention.

Your committee decided to use some of the available funds to obtain some legal advice.

Many of you have over the years emailed support to me, but indicated very early on that you thought the situation was corrupt.  Of course you were right.

And now we have a new Chief Minister, the very same chap who killed the project in 2014, and refused to talk to us.  This is unlikely to be an auspicious event.

I am convinced that the ACT Government thinks it is dealing just with a couple of cranks, Chris Price and me.  Why not add to their group of cranks and write a few letters?