Palaszczuk’s response to Trad property scandal
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk has refused to admonish her deputy Jackie Trad after she secretly purchased a property along the route of the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project.
The Premier yesterday sidestepped questions about the scandal that has engulfed Ms Trad and instead urged all MPs to follow Parliament's disclosure rules.
"All MPs are urged to satisfy their requirements," she said in a statement after being asked if she thought Ms Trad's purchase of the inner-city property was appropriate.
The Courier-Mail revealed yesterday Ms Trad bought a Woolloongabba property near the existing Park Road station and the future Boggo Road Gaol station in March but failed to declare it on Parliament's Register of Member's Interests.
The property is also within the catchment of the new Inner City South Secondary College being built by the Palaszczuk Government.
Labor figures were yesterday appalled that Ms Trad had purchased a property likely to rise in value as a result of a project that she has ministerial responsibility for.
"I'm actually in shock," one senior player said.
Ms Palaszczuk's reluctance to criticise the powerful Left faction leader's controversial real estate play came after it emerged another of Ms Trad's property deals had not been disclosed.
Ms Trad insisted her Register of Member's Interests was accurate yesterday morning but later blamed the Clerk of Parliament when it emerged that a West End unit she had purchased a year earlier had been excluded.
Clerk Neil Laurie yesterday apologised for the "administrative error".
"It appears that due to an administrative error, the declaration was not printed, signed and placed on the hard copy register of interest," Mr Laurie said in a statement.
"I have apologised to the Minister for this error."
Ms Trad said the decision to buy the three-bedroom Woolloongabba cottage for $695,500 was made by her husband while staunchly rejecting Opposition accusations she was trading on inside information about Queensland's biggest infrastructure project.
"The house that has been purchased has been purchased by my husband," Ms Trad said.
"The Cross River Rail project is a project that has been around for more than 10 years.
"The idea of additional stations and upgraded stations in the Boggo Road precinct has been out in the public domain for eight years."
However, Ms Trad apologised for failing to declare the property within 30 days as required by the Parliament of Queensland Act.
"I make no bones about that and I am deeply apologetic and sorry for it but as I said the allegations by the LNP that there is some conspiracy here is just not true," she said.
One property industry source said the humble cottage could be worth "either side of $1 million" by the time the Cross River Rail project was completed, while another said it could "more than double in value".
"It's disgraceful that it was not declared," one industry figure said. "It sounds very dodgy to me."
However, another prominent real estate player said anyone who had followed the progress of Cross River Rail could have speculated on property in Woolloongabba.
"The smart money would be investing in Woolloongabba and its neighbouring suburbs because it has lacked amenities and accessibility and will benefit from projects like Cross River Rail, no doubt," the source said.
While Ms Trad promised to consult the Integrity Commissioner about conflict of interest accusations, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said she would refer the Deputy Premier to Queensland's corruption watchdog.
"Jackie Trad would have known about the uplift in value," she said.
"Jackie Trad would have known about the potential rezoning of that property".
- Additional reporting by Samantha Healy