News Politics Australian Politics Deputy PM defends western Sydney airport land ‘bargain’

Deputy PM defends western Sydney airport land ‘bargain’

sydney airport land
Police have found nothing wrong with the government paying 10 times above market value for land. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

The Deputy Prime Minister insists spending $30 million on a parcel of land near the western Sydney airport worth just $3 million was actually a bargain.

Michael McCormack believes people will eventually congratulate the federal government for paying 10 times more than so-called Leppington triangle was worth.

“That eventually will be hailed as a good decision,” he told 2GB radio on Monday.

“I appreciate that yes, it was very much over the odds, I appreciate there’s a review going on into how that actually happened.

“But eventually when there is a need to be more runways and more infrastructure built at western Sydney airport, they’ll look back and say, probably: ‘What a bargain that was’.”

A map of the area, with the Leppington triangle noted. Photo: ANAO

Mr McCormack, who is also the Nationals leader and Transport Minister, admits there should have been better processes around the land purchase.

“But there has been a decision taken,” he said.

“Yes it’s a lot of money but in time it will be a very good investment.”

The Australian National Audit Office handed down a scathing report into the land purchase last week, finding Department of Infrastructure officials had engaged in unethical conduct.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, who was infrastructure minister when the deal was done, has claimed his own department left him in the dark.

“My knowledge is the same as yours,” he said last Wednesday.

“The auditor-general report said information was concealed from senior officials at the department, as well as the minister.”

The 12-hectare block was purchased from the Leppington Pastoral Company. It is the dairy company of billionaire brothers Tony and Ron Perich and has previously donated large sums to the Liberal Party.

The land, which sits on the edge of the proposed western Sydney airport, is at the end of where a potential second runway will be built. The ANAO said the land would not be needed until 2050.

-with AAP