You are here: Home / Other RW Issues / University of Sydney / University of Sydney statement re Frank Sartor

University of Sydney statement re Frank Sartor

According to Frank Sartor in his 2011 book "The Fog on the Hill - How NSW Labor Lost its Way"(pp118-123) Kristina Keneally, as Planning Minister, devised a plan to 'compensate' Sydney University for its `loss' of the Callan Park opportunity by offer­ing it the North Eveleigh site in Redfern, which had been prepared for tender. Sartor makes further claims that he was told that Sydney University were only prepared to pay $30m for the site while the site was worth $100m. Sydney University was asked to comment on Sartor's comments for a South Sydney Herald article in 2012 and below is the full text of their media statement of 31 January 2012.

University of Sydney statement re Frank Sartor

Unfortunately comments by Mr Frank Sartor in his book Fog on the Hill about the University of Sydney’s position on the possible purchase of North Eveleigh are out of date, incorrect and misleading. It appears that Mr Sartor was unaware of any developments that took place after the period that he left Cabinet.

Mr Sartor quotes unnamed “university sources” that the University was only prepared to pay $30 million for the site despite a commercial valuation of about $100m. He obviously made no effort to check the facts.

For the record, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence, wrote to the then Minister for Planning & Minister for Redfern Waterloo, Kristina Keneally on 18 December 2008, expressing the University’s desire to enter direct discussions with the NSW government regarding the University’s desire to purchase the former Eveleigh Railway yards.

In March 2009, the CEO of the RWA Roy Wakelin King wrote to the Vice- Chancellor to inform him that the Budget Committee of Cabinet had authorised the RWA to enter into direct negotiations with the University. These negotiations were to last 3 months and if they were unsuccessful, the site was to be taken to the open market for disposal.

Subsequent to those negotiations the University and the Vice-Chancellor Dr Spence made a number of public statements that the University was prepared to pay market price for the North Eveleigh site.

This fact was reported in the SMH on March 5, 2010 in an article by Josephine Tovey headlined “developers may get site uni seeks to house students”.

On 19 March 2010, Mr Colin Rockliff, Director of Campus Infrastructure and Services wrote to to Mr Roy Wakelin King, CEO Redfern Waterloo Authority and said: “We have committed to pay a full market price to Government and to consult closely with the community in developing the site for public benefit.” This was reconfirmed in a further letter from Colin Rockliff to Roy Wakelin King on 29 March 2010.

The University’s willingness to pay full market value for the site was also reported in the South Sydney Herald April 2010.

Sydney University Media contact:  Andrew Potter

The text of the section of Frank Sartor's book to which Sydney University are responding can be found at: Sartor: Keneally discussed plan for North Eveleigh with Sydney Uni