Coalition’s $30m airport land deal “incompetent or corrupt”

Last September, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) released a report slamming the federal Department of Infrastructure (DOI) for purchasing land related to the Western Sydney Airport from a billionaire family for 10 times its market value in what ANAO called a “significant and unusual transaction” that “did not exercise appropriate due diligence” and “fell short of ethical standards“.

This land, known as the Leppington Triangle, was purchased by DOI for $29.8 million in 2018. But ANAO found that the department had written off 90% of the purchase price within only 12 months, valuing the land at just $3.1 million.

A Senate committee has been scrutinising the deal, and ANAO staff previously told the committee that infrastructure minister Paul Fletcher was briefed on the proposed transaction by officials from his department and told them that the deal seemed “perfectly sensible to me”.

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