Plaza FOI documents still sitting on a desk

Following yesterday’s appearance of the Auditor-General before Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee the State Liberals have renewed calls for the Weatherill Government to release critical documents related to the Walker Corporations Festival Plaza redevelopment.

“South Australians remain in the dark about important aspects of the deal with the Weatherill Government fighting the release under FOI,” said Shadow Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

“The refusal of the Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Attorney General John Rau to answer a series of parliamentary questions about their role in the Festival Plaza redevelopment deepens the perceptions that the Labor Government has something hide regarding its deal with Walker Corporation.

"The recently released Auditor-General’s report criticised the Weatherill Government and confirmed they had not followed procurement rules, and had failed to keep proper records in the negotiations with Walker Corporation.

State Liberals have sought to uncover details about how this transaction was handled by both the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Urban Development, through Freedom of Information applications which to date, have been withheld by all agencies involved.

On 30 March 2015 Ms Chapman made a Freedom of Information application to uncover correspondence between the then Minister for Planning, John Rau MP and Walker Corporation.

After one-year, an Ombudsman SA determination and a District Court appeal application by Walker Corporation, one letter was produced.

On 24 June 2016, the same FOI application was made to DPTI for correspondence between that authority and Walker Corporation.

In response DPTI wanted a $12,000 fee to produce the documents, and even after the Ombudsman SA declared no fee should be claimed, no documents have ever been produced.

“I understand the Attorney-General’s own department is the heart of the blockage by refusing to provide advice on whether any documents are confidential and should be redacted,” said Ms Chapman. 

“These documents were provided to the Attorney-General’s Department to assist with another application, yet have not been seen since.”