Tag Archives: Baston

Labor ramps up attack on Baston more than Marketplace City sale

Posted December 03, 2015 22:59:12

Labor has seized on comments from the West Australian Agriculture Minister talking up the advantages of selling the Perth Industry Authority, arguing it shows a substantial failure in how he has managed conflict of interest problems.

Minister Ken Baston has been below fire for not publicly acknowledging he had declared a conflict of interest over the Perth Market Authority sale, triggered by an advisory role his son has with one of the bidders.

Mr Baston declared the conflict in July, but did not reveal it in State Parliament until Wednesday, just a few days soon after he had appointed an interim board to the authority.

The Opposition continued to grill Mr Baston in Parliament late on Thursday more than his handling of the matter, seizing on the minister’s remarks in the Legislative Council when appointing the interim board.

In that speech, Mr Baston mentioned the sale provided a “significant chance for private sector investment” and that he believed private ownership of the marketplace will “aid open up new export possibilities that are presently not obtainable”.

Mr Baston produced these remarks on Tuesday, a day before the conflict of interest problem came to light.

Labor questioned if it was a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct to make these remarks, provided Mr Baston had declared a conflict and excluded himself from Cabinet discussions, but the minister insisted he had done the appropriate thing.

“There is no need to clear any prospective conflict of interest to Parliament,” he said.

“The Ministerial Code of Conduct needs I declare any possible conflicts to Cabinet, which I have accomplished.

“I am accountable for the Perth Markets Act, and under the act the minister is responsible for ensuring the day-to-day operations of Industry City … this has had nothing at all to do with the sale of the asset.

“The tips my workplace received was that it would not be in the very best interest of any certain bidders to disclose any info publicly that may well disadvantage them.”

Premier Colin Barnett also continued to back the minister, saying Mr Baston’s conflict declaration affected his involvement in Cabinet consideration and not his ability to speak on the matter in Parliament.

The continued controversy over Mr Baston’s handling of the Industry Authority continued as the Government pushed on with attempts to get legislation by means of Parliament to let its sale.

Numerous MPs are expecting the Legislative Council to sit all evening and into tomorrow morning, as the Government attempts to pass the legislation before Parliament rises for the year.

Topics: government-and-politics, perth-6000

Agen Sabung Ayam

Baston declares conflict of interest in Marketplace City sale

Updated December 02, 2015 22:22:36

Western Australia’s Agriculture Minister has admitted he has a conflict of interest more than the sale of a major state asset, but insisted he did not hide that fact.

The revelation from Ken Baston comes with the Government trying to push through legislation enabling the sale of Canning Vale’s Marketplace City by means of Parliament this week, just before it shuts down for the year.

The Perth Market Authority is one particular of a tranche of assets the State Government is trying to sell off in a bid to minimize the state’s spiralling debt, forecast to peak at just more than $ 36 billion by 2017/18.

The Government hopes the sale will reap more than $ 100 million.

It is understood the conflict relates to an advisory role Mr Baston’s son has with one particular of the bidders for the Market place Authority.

Mr Baston stated he had disclosed the matter to the Premier but his appointment of a new board for the authority final week was unrelated to his conflict.

“The management of the board still sits under the Minister, so that appointment is separate to the sale, it is just the day-to-day running of the markets,” Mr Baston told Parliament.

“I have removed myself from all Cabinet meetings whenever the discussion has taken place [relating to the sale].”

Mr Baston’s admission drew the ire of Labor, which said stakeholders had been going to the Minister to express issues over the sale although in the dark about the concern.

“This complete time market has been going to the Minister’s office raising their concerns, believing he would be their voice in Cabinet when he has been absent from all of these Cabinet discussions,” Labor MP Ken Travers mentioned.

“Now we find out the Minister has a conflict … but has he ever told the sector about that conflict?”

Mr Travers mentioned Mr Baston’s appointment of a new board for the authority, following the resignation of the previous one, was especially concerning.

“Having declared a conflict, absented himself from all Cabinet discussions he’s now appointed the board that will manage the authority in the course of the sale method,” he mentioned.

“In his personal words he had a conflict and ought to have been out of the game but he nonetheless participated.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Baston stated it was widely recognized that the Minister had a conflict of interest and that he had followed correct processes.

Topics: government-and-politics, agribusiness, fruit, canning-vale-6155

First posted December 02, 2015 21:04:32

Agen Sabung Ayam