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‘The price was not in the brief’: Minister ignorant of $30m paid for airport land

The minister who oversaw the purchase of a piece of land next to the Western Sydney Airport in 2018 has pleaded ignorance over the $30 million price paid by taxpayers in a deal excoriated by the Auditor-General.

Infrastructure Department officials didn’t tell Paul Fletcher, who was urban infrastructure minister at the time of the deal, the sale price for the 12 hectares of land, which the Commonwealth valued at just $3 million a year after the purchase.

Minister Paul Fletcher says his department kept him in the dark over the $30 million price tag for a piece of land taxpayers bought near the Western Sydney Airport.

Minister Paul Fletcher says his department kept him in the dark over the $30 million price tag for a piece of land taxpayers bought near the Western Sydney Airport.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The land, known as the Leppington Triangle, was owned by Liberal Party donors Tony and Ron Perich’s Leppington Pastoral Company. The company is now leasing it back from the Commonwealth on the basis of yet another valuation that has it worth under a million dollars.

But Mr Fletcher, now the Communications Minister, says he only became aware of the issue when he read the auditor-general’s report, which was released on Monday.

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