7 January 2008

The Epicentre smell continues

| Pandy
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The Canberra Times reports that Mr Corbell believes both government agencies ACTPLA and the LDA) acted appropriately and that the registered bidders were responsible for due diligence, not the ACT Government.

“Complaints from Mr Snow are from a disgruntled developer concerned about a competitor entering the market:, Mr Corbell said.

Simon you also ignore everyone else who is complaining about the process. Playing Snowjob the man no longer washes with me. It is view emerging with others I have coffee with.

The information supplied by ACTPLA, eight days before the auction should have been given to the other parties which would have pushed the price up of the land further. It is obvious that unlimited building opportunities on the site would have generated heat in the marketplace.

By keeping mum on the advice provided by ACTPLA to one party, at worst smacks of something sinister in the dealings between your Government and developers or at best of gross incompetence in not getting a better deal for the ACT taxpayer.

The way you are dealing with the issue, placing your head in the sand, playing the man and not resolving the faults in your bureaucracy makes this Government look like something from the Joh era.

I thought you were doing a reasonable job at planning, but it seems that it is getting a bit much for you and you are looking tired these days. Some planning issues were taken off you over the last cabinet reshuffle. It is about time you did a portfolio swap and hand over the reigns to someone else and keep your law and order portfolio.

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Based on the ALP conference last weekend, and the spindoctoring we have heard about voting re school closures, we now know that what Simon meant to say about Epicentre was that the bulky goods site was in fact for retailing but he and his officials didn’t put it out that way because it would have been confusing to tell the marketplace what they actually meant to do.

The senior officials have made major mistakes. They protect Corbell and he protects them. We need an ICAC in Canberra.

Chris S: I wouldn’t call Corbell pro-developer. If you look closely at the “reforms” they always move at a snails pace and are mired in process.

The planning nazis have been slowly sucking the oxygen out of Canberra and now they have managed to finally implode. But as was pointed out before – nothing will really happen, because change and ACT administration are not often seen in the same sentence.

Unfortunately, this is reflected in a vocal section of the community which wants to hold on to a 1970’s view of life.

Quite right Big Al, but here is the big scandal here – who are the brains of this little operation. Who has got the ear of Corbell, LDA or ACTPLA?

Oh I’m with you Tempestas – I don’t credit Corbell with the smarts to run a good conspiracy – this is straight forward incompetence – and Sonic has let the magnitude of Corbell’s ineptness reach such a stupendous scale that it has become a joke.

To pinch an old joke – when you look at Corbell you cant help thinking that there’s a village somewhere missing it’s idiot…

Don’t you just love planning issues in this town.

Just remember to apply Occam’s razor, never look for conspiracy when incompetence would explain the situation just as well.

Since Simon Corbell took over the Planning portfolio, he has presided over a spiralling litany of planning and public policy failures.

* He abolished the LAPACs, tried to replace them with the always-going-to-fail Community Planning Forums, then hoicked this responsibility onto the Community Councils which were not, and still are not, the appropriate consultative forums for planning issues
* in opposition, criticised Brendan Smyth relentlessly for (from memory a handful of) uses of call-ins, then in government has called in so many projects we have lost count
* has become increasingly distant from Canberra residents; when he deigns to answer letters or correspondence, it is with more and more spin, and fewer and fewer answers to the concerns raised
* he abolished PALM (which was not necessarily a bad thing) but replaced it with ACTPLA, with the same people doing the same thing in the same way. It became nothing more than an expensive re-badging exercise
* he abolished the old Land Group (again, not a bad move) but replaced it with the LDA which ended up no better than what it was before
* the only “vision” he has had for the revitalisation of Civic came after private enterprise put their ideas forward
* he has continually fought with the NCA over the forestry settlements and a bunch of other matters – NCA are as bad, but Simon could never find the circuit-breaker
* he has been the most anti-resident Planning Minister this teritory has ever had – he has removed consultative bodies and objection and appeal rights, and has distanced himself from community leaders to the point where he now no longer meets with them
* he has been the most pro-developer Planning Minister we have seen for many years – he regularly attends HIA/MBA/PCA lunch/dinner meetings to unveil yet more planning reforms that give developers another leg up
* there are now many questions about what is happening with the ‘Bundah caravan park, and speculation that a deal Will allow CBL to profit from buying a caravan park with no development rights, to a swap for land that gives him a windfall profit
* his proposed busway was unceremoniously dumped after the last reshuffle
* as both Health and Planning Minister, he was the proponent and approver (through call-in) of the Karralika “refurbishment” (which in reality was a major redevelopment), was sanctioned (again) by the Legislative Assembly, and eventually rolled by people power

These are just a few issues off the top of my head – if I dug into the archives, no doubt I would find more.

The bottom line is that he is now an embarrassment for Sonic, must be sacked from all his portfolios and sent to the back bench until the next election, when hopefully the voters will put him where he belongs – on his arse.

that should have been cannot find a home… I am so ticked I can’t even winge straight!

What i don’t understand (or prehaps I do) why is it that every other agency is almost paralised with procurment fear about treating everyone the same. On every Federal Governemnt tenders for services and goods from $10k up I recieve every bit of information that is given from the agency to any inquiry – even when they say the same thing twice (just try it on austender).

BUT and agency whose central commitment is selling assets for millions doen not do the same………..SHAME SHAME SHAME.

Next person that can find a home or dies while on a waiting list or parent that has to explain to a child why they can’t go to school with their friend must lay the blame at Corbell and if Stanhope doesn’t act then the people of the ACT must at the next election. This crowd is a total joke transport ministers done DUI, Chief Ministers that can tell every other leader how to do their job, but can’t do his own…. My vote is up for grabs (now I need someone talented engough to claim it … but thats another issue)

Veritas you said thetruth.

Areaman it isn’t about just wether or not an e-mail got forwarded on though is it. It’s about a systematic failure of the ACT Government and its agencies to act in the best interests of ACT residents.

Anyway you look at it it’s manifestly incompetent that information could be selectively distributed to registered bidders when its an established practice that any information requested by any registered bidder be released to all registered bidders. Because this didn’t happen we have all been shafted to the tune of around $30 million.

Snow stopped bidding at $38 million not because he’d run out of money, but because that was all he could justify paying for a bulky goods site – on the other hand Austexx were happy to keep bidding because they new that $39 million was a bargain for a retail site – because they had been privy to information selectively released by the ACT Government. If Corbell isn’t responsible for this who is? If the dip-shit doesn’t walk Stanhope should sack the prick.

areaman, C-in-C that I ask a Governmnet authority “Say if I buy the land can I put what I like on it, no matter what the law says?” and the authority says; “Ok. But we wont tell anyone else about this, wink wink”. You don’t see anything wrong in this? You dont see that the whole matter places the Stanhope Governmnet in a bad light? You dont see that Simon needs to reform sale process so that all future correspondence like this should be distributed to registered parties before the sale happening? Who are you working for?

Seriously there should be a royal commission into this? Yes making advice that effects the market is procurment 101.

Corbell must explain why he did not ensure that the agencies he created (both LDA and ACTPLA) did not ensure that the market was availed with the information required to maximise return.

Simple Corbell and Savery must go or explain publically why accepting a lower than market price is go management… Disgraceful and most likely corrupt!!!!!

And oh areaman, you seems to ignore that Simon Corbell says that the LDA and ACTPLA “acted appropriately”. Care to make a comment on that after what you said “sure show them the door”?

Because I don’t believe there is such a person who fulfils all requirements I listed (knew of the advice, knew what it would mean, thought they were supposed to and allowed to forward it on) above, especially as I haven’t seen any official word saying they were allowed to forward on the advice at all (as I believe it’s commercial in confidence).

And oh areaman, you seems to ignore that Simon Corbell says that the LDA and ACTPLA “acted appropriately”. Care to make a comment on that after what you said “sure show them the door”?

Our Vision
From the LDA website:

We will strive to be an organisation of excellence that:

Acts ethically and professionally at all times; and
Highly values its people and customers.

So because somone on an indipendant portfolio angency didn’t forward an email they may, or may not have been supposed to the minister should what… resign?

Of course its the Minister’s fault – he’s responsible for the whole lot – Corbell is just to gutless to take responsibility for allowing the agencies and departments he’s in charge of to descend into a mire of incompetence.

It is impossible for ACTPLA – who were working hand-in-glove with the LDA on the sale of the land – Really, I didn’t know that, do you have any sources to back that up?

Areaman, you don’t need sources to know that ACTPLA and the LDA have been very tight on this project. To argue that they would not have been working hand-in-glove would imply that the LDA were disposing of land without due consideration to their supplier (ACTPLA), that and you only need to look at who’s in the e-mail loop within ACTPLA and the LDA.

It’s an independent development agency owned by the ACT government – So it’s the ACT Government.

VYBerlinaV8 , it beacuse developers were making stupidly large amounts of money and putting in place low quality developments that simply maximised profits, the ACT government thought they could do a better job and make some odf that cash back for the people who owned the land in the first place.

I’m not sure of the logic behind having the LDA at all. In my opinion, the govt should be zoning land according to a larger plan, then releasing it to developers according to the highest bidder. Dabbling in commercial industry is hardly core business for the govt.

Big Al, sure if there is somone at the LDA who knew of the advice, knew what it meant and belived they were able to pass send it out to the other interested parties but decided not to, sure show them the door, but that’s hardly the minister’s fault.

It is impossible for ACTPLA – who were working hand-in-glove with the LDA on the sale of the land

Really, I didn’t know that, do you have any sources to back that up?

It’s not. It’s the ACT Government.

It’s an independent development agency owned by the ACT government with it’s own CEO and board. It’s catch 22 for the LDA, if they get treated like every other development company this kind of stuff happens, if they don’t then the private developers complain.

…and another thing:

“If it had been a private firm rather than government owned agency this wouldn’t have even been an issue.”

Areaman if you were working for me and you stuffed up so badly that you missed the opportunity to make me another $30-odd million dollars – your arse would be out the door so fast you wouldn’t know what was happening. And if I knew you’d screwed up and instead of sacking you tried to defend your actions I would expect that my shareholders would drag my sorry arse out on the street to, so don’t give us any of this “it wouldn’t be an issue if it was the private sector’ shit.

Unlike Corbell’s pathetic little fiefdom, in the private sector you’re actually accountable to someone and you’re expected to take responsibility for what you do.

So Pandy are you saying that ACTPLA didn’t do anything wrong, but the LDA did? Obviously the LDA had no legal obligation to release the advice from ACTPLA, however it might have raised the sale price if they had, not that I see any sign of malicious intent. That being said anyone who was serious about using the land should have asked ACTPLA themselves rather than expect the LDA to do it for them. Plus it’s not like Tony Snow doesn’t have a vested interest in seeing the DFO not happen.

Areaman raises a few good issues that only demonstrate more clearly the rot within Corbell’s portfolio:

“My understanding is that Snow had private advice from ACTPLA that he didn’t share either.”

That’s exactly the problem Areaman – ACTPLA should have been sharing all the advice across all of the registered bidders – this is public sector procurement and disposal 101 – to not do so reflects a level of incompetence so extreme that it almost beggars belief.

“It was the LDA not ACTPLA that was selling the land and so ACTPLA had no reason no make their advice public.”

It is impossible for ACTPLA – who were working hand-in-glove with the LDA on the sale of the land – to be unaware that the advice it was giving in relation to planning requirements for that piece of land that might have an impact on decisions made by register bidders to claim otherwise reflects a level of incompetence so extreme that it almost beggars belief.

“If it had been a private firm rather than government owned agency this wouldn’t have even been an issue.”

It’s not. It’s the ACT Government. Because of Simon Corbell’s incompetence the ACT community has missed out on millions of dollars in extra revenue that could have gone some way to fixing up the education system that these dolts have managed to run into the ground.

areaman, what my beef is is that Simon defends his agencies secrecy. His defence (see the Canberra Times) would be that Snowjob did not ask the right questions. Is this is how it will be from now until the next election? “Ask no questions, tell no lies”?

Me thinks who is the puppetmaster?

If I were in Simon’s shoes I would be publically aghast on what my agencies are doing and would bring them into line.

and that’s some great spelling of the word understanding.

The information supplied by ACTPLA, eight days before the auction should have been given to the other parties which would have pushed the price up of the land further.

My uinderstadnign is that Snow had private advice from ACTPLA that he didn’t share either. It was the LDA not ACTPLA that was selling the land and so ACTPLA had no reason no make their advice public. If it had been a private firm rather than government owned agency this wouldn’t have even been an issue.

I agree – this is the sort of stuff that gives rise to royal commissions.

Stanhope must stand up here- the ACT taxpayer has been gouged big time

Corbell is just another useless Labor hack – He’s looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights for some time now and strangely enough, Simon, if you sit in the middle of the road for long enough you’ll get run over.

As long as the Labor party places greater emphasis on grubby little backroom deals than talent when choosing its people the community is going to keep ending up with dip-shits like Corbell.

The bit I still don’t understand is the seriously amateur response of his advisors to this issue – it’s almost as if he’s using UC Media graduates – honestly it’s that bad. I would have thought that having a crack at Snow for trying to protect his commercial interests would make a cute sound-grab early in the piece and might win a few nods of approval from the usual coterie of pinko shit-bags in the electorate – but running with it as a central plank of your defence against an increasing tide of evidence that reveals your office and the departments that you’ve been left to administer as incompetent and potentially corrupt? So tell us Simon … if Snow is simply a disgruntled businessman, then what gives with the ACT Property Council? QIC? Westfield? Just disgruntled business men? You’re full of shit Simon.

ACTPLA is a creation of Corbell and Corbell clearly has something against the airport. This scam has cost the ACT about $61 million – how many schools, operations, public sector jobs is that. this in the biggest financial scandal in Canberra’s history (and perhaps the nations.

Corbell must finally go

In Commonwealth tenders if one party asks a question all registered parties recieve and addendum with the question and the response – why so that all parties are operating off the same information.

Last night, while the Stanley Steamer was idling at the lights, i noted that the blue falcon in front of me had a ‘Simon Corbell’ sticker on its rear window.

!

I wonder what advice Consolidated Builders got from ACTPLA before buying the Long Stay Park off Koomarri?

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