Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for STATE GROWTH, Mr GROOM
In the last sitting you misled the House over what was revealed to be a secret plan to hand over the Hunter Street School of Art to private developers. Can you now tell the House which private developer has expressed an interest in turning the historic art school into a hotel? What discussions have you had with the potential developer about the art school's future? Can you also detail to the House any other public assets that are potentially up for sale or transfer? Can you also inform the House how many unsolicited bids from private developers for public assets are currently with your Office of the Coordinator-General?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. We know the Greens seek to oppose any opportunity for Tasmania. That is the difference between the Greens and this Government. I make no apologies for the fact this Government is open for business and open to ideas. It is important, as a state, that we are open to these ideas.
In relation to the matter involving the arts school, I have answered this question in some detail. In relation to any specific interest or discussions that have taken place, I am not aware of any but I will find out. I am not going to make the same mistake twice. I will find out for the member and I will come back to the member at the earliest opportunity.
Ms O'Connor interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. A question has been asked and the constant interjections will cease.
Mr GROOM - The unsolicited bids process is an important process for the state. You can seek the criticise it all you like but Tasmania would be the only jurisdiction in the country that does not have one if we did not have it. What happens with governments that do not have that process? You do not know where those inquiries go. Every government receives inquiries in relation to assets and other opportunities for the state. Through the unsolicited bids process we have sought to put in place a structure.
I can confirm that bids have been received. There have been five bids received at the preliminary stage that are being worked up. There have been three considered by the Coordinator-General, gone through an assessment process and rejected as not satisfying the criteria. There has been another one received recently that is currently being considered and it relates to medical services. There is another concept being worked up by a proponent at a very preliminary stage that involves a software solution for government.
We have explained to the Tasmanian people decisions that the Government has made in relation to considering potential divestment of significant buildings and the member is fully aware of that.
It is unfortunate that the member for Denison is seeking to suggest that there is something inappropriate or untoward in the Government having in place an unsolicited bids process. It is an entirely legitimate thing. It provides structure and process for the Government. It puts in place a process to deal with inquiries that any government would deal with.
Five have been received or have been worked up, but discussions take place and that is the whole point. It is an open door where people can have discussions and we have been very clear about any decision that we are making in terms of considering divestment of public buildings.
Opposition and Greens members interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. The House will come to order. The member for Braddon, Mr Brooks, has the call.
Ms O'Connor - Congratulations, 250 Dorothy Dixers.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. I warn the member for Denison, Ms O'Connor. If she does not put that prop down I will eject her for using a prop without permission of the Speaker.