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Scathing report reveals ‘no independent valuation’ of Camellia site

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Six hectares of toxic land is causing a $160 million headache for the government.

Six hectares of toxic land is causing a $160 million headache for the NSW government.

The contaminated Camellia site was acquired in 2016 to build a tram depot for the Parramatta light rail.

A scathing Auditor General's report found there was no independent valuation of the site and no assessment of remediation costs.

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Report reveals land wasn't formally valued

NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said he was "furious and disgusted" at the findings.

"What's gone on here is bloody unacceptable," Mr Constance said.

The department paid the owner, a developer, $53 million seven months after the company bought the plot for just $38 million - a deal that is under fire and Labor says the buck stops with the minister.

"If in previous governments this had have happened, then yes, the transport minister would go," NSW opposition leader Jodi McKay said.

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Report reveals land wasn't formally valued

On top of paying too much for the land, taxpayers have also afforded a $105 million clean-up bill.

Purchase approval was given by an acting deputy secretary who didn't have authority to sign off, a process slammed as "rushed", "poorly informed" and "leaving the Auditor General unable to rule out the possibility of corruption".

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The report found that insufficient processes are not unique to the Camellia site.

"There is no doubt that the recommendations [of] the Auditor General 100 per cent, to the letter of the recommendation, must be followed," Mr Constance said.

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The transaction has been referred to the corruption watchdog.

Source: 9News

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