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USB sticks it to Govt
State Treasurer Kevin Foley
will reveal next week how he
will handle The Case of the
Missing USB Stick.
The lost memory stick contains
confidential government costings
for the new public-private hospital
which the Government wants built
to replace Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Liberal frontbencher Rob
Lucas, whose budget and finance
committee is investigating the $2
billion project, has called it a major
There are three tenderers on the
Government's shortlist: SA Health
Partners, a consortium of Hansen
Yuncken, Macquarie and Leighton;
Torrens Health Partnership, which
is a Bilfinger Berger, Lend Lease
and Baulderstone consortium; and
the Plenary Group with Grocon.
"If one of the bidders gains
access to the confidential
information on the USB, they would
have a significant competitive
advantage over all other bidders,
and it also places the taxpayers'
and the public's interest at a
disadvantage because the bidders
will know the Government's
confidential costings," Mr Lucas
The Under-Treasurer's response
to the lost stick was optimistic,
but fanciful. He initially told the
committee that a strategy had
been developed to ask tenderers
to promise they would "not
take advantage of having that
information if they came across it".
The chance of Government
getting the promise may be higher
than the chance of bidders keeping
Last week the Health
Department's most senior public
servant, CEO Dr Tony Sherbon, told
the same committee there may have
to be a new "strategy".
It would involve making the
information contained on the lost
USB stick available to all tenderers.
This would give the three groups
access to far more information than
the public is allowed to see.
Health Minister John Hill has
already acknowledged the stick
reveals a great deal about the
"We've said (the hospital) would
cost about $1.7 billion, but what
it (the stick) contains is what we
would allocate for various elements
of it. Now we don't obviously make
that public," he revealed.
The Treasurer, Mr Foley, has
been attempting to grapple with
the unsavory choice between
pleading for honesty when billions
of dollars profit are at stake, and
acknowledging that honesty and
billions of dollars are sometimes
Mr Foley told The Independent
Weekly yesterday he would decide
next week whether to release the
stick's information to the trio of
The Treasurer appeared to have
made a Freudian slip on Wednesday
when arguing for the existing
hospital to be demolished.
"It is an archaic structure in
many places," he said. "It is in
desperate need of renovation."
Many doctors, other
health professionals, health
administrators and academics and
the Opposition want exactly that --
for the hospital to be renovated.
Instead, the Government plans to
raze it and have it replaced with a
new hospital at the old railways site.
But there was no mistake
about a request for access to the
Government's business case
supporting a new hospital.
It told Opposition health
spokesman Duncan McFetridge
the information -- sought under
freedom of information -- would be
a long way from free.
Mr McFetridge would be charged
$120,000 for the documents, and
Dr Sherbon recommended the
shadow minister first send in a
cheque for $5000 to help get the FOI
Mr Hill responded that the
Government had already provided
extensive briefings, which were
Evidence given to the
parliamentary committee reveals
the Government spent or allocated
more than $2 million for a publicity
campaign to promote its hospital
project, and Mr Sherbon's
testimony further reveals this
does not include the cost of
advertising, consultancy or creative
concepts. For example, the cost to
taxpayers of having a mock hospital
room at the Royal Adelaide Show
was surgically removed from public
The Independent Weekly
understands that the Government
is still considering confidential
options to allow a privately built
and operated hotel in the city
parklands. The plan involves
building the hotel on land originally
excised from the parklands for
RAH, which under the hotel plan
will not be returned to the Botanic
Meanwhile, the Government has
spent $656,000 bringing an English
consulting company to Adelaide to
run "models of care" workshops.
The Durrow consultants, Andy
Black and Mungo Smith, were given
travel expenses and plane fares to
visit Adelaide and participate in the
The next Adelaide Festival will begin with
a bang when French pyrotechnics company
Groupe F stages a free 45-minute fireworks
display in Victoria Park.
Groupe F has presented shows around the
world, including lighting up the Eiffel Tower
for the millennium celebrations, Athens for the
2004 Olympic Games and London on New Year's
Artistic director Christophe Berthonneau
said he had long wanted to create "a magical
fireworks spectacular" for the Adelaide Festival.
Premier Mike Rann said the show, A Little
More Light, would be the most elaborate
fireworks display ever seen in SA.
The 2010 Adelaide Festival program was
officially launched last night at the Festival
Centre by artistic director Paul Grabowsky
and entertainer Julia Zemiro. Next year is
the 50th festival and the program includes 250
performances, events and exhibitions in 33
What's in store at the 2010 Adelaide Festival:
The Cheltenham Park Residents
Association will continue its fight to
prevent the Cheltenham Racecourse
from turning into a housing develop-
The CPRA filed appeal notices this
week to the Full Court of the Supreme
Court for a review into the Planning
Minister's approval of the rezoning. The
case was dismissed in September in the
The redevelopment plan for the
racecourse includes about 900 houses.
The CPRA says the decision to rezone
the land was wrong, and there are better
uses for the land than high-density
The association wants to preserve
the racecourse as open space including
wetlands and use it to reduce the known
flood risk to the area.
CPRA spokeswoman Carol Faulkner
said the group was aware of the potential
costs involved in an appeal.
"We believe these issues are worth
fighting for, and worth the angst and
expense of litigation," Ms Faulkner said.
for open space
JAM USA/0577/21 CRICOS PROVIDER NO 00121B
Climate Change: The Public
Interest and Private Interests
in Australian Policy.
To be delivered by Distinguished
Professor Ross Garnaut AO.
How could the December Copenhagen forum
best meet Australia's national interests?
Ross Garnaut will give his views.
Wednesday 4 November 2009
Doors open 5.30pm for a 5.45pm start
Adelaide Town Hall,
128 King William Street, Adelaide
Registration essential via RSVP phone line
on 8302 0215 or online at
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