Inquiry after Barnett-Packer meeting leaked
Colin Barnett and James Packer pictured in 2011. File picture: The West Australian

The WA Government has admitted to serious concerns about how cabinet documents detailing a meeting between Premier Colin Barnett and billionaire James Packer came to be leaked to a journalist.

The WA Liberals were forced to defend themselves today, after it was revealed Mr Barnett and Mr Packer had discussed Perth’s $1 billion stadium months before the Government approved it being built at Burswood, where Mr Packer is currently upgrading his Crown Casino complex.

With the State opposition saying it was another example of the Premier being economical with the truth, Treasurer Troy Buswell said overnment officials would be investigating how the Cabinet decision sheet was leaked to The Sunday Times.

“It is an important issue, and of serious concern if cabinet documents do find their way into the public domain,” Mr Buswell said.

“I imagine as a matter of course the senior members of the bureaucracy who look after that part of government will be looking into it.

“It is not an acceptable outcome.”

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett had a “callous indifference to the truth“, and may have misled parliament over the Packer meeting in 2011.

Mr Buswell said the meeting had not been secret, and had not been primarily to discuss whether the new football stadium would be built at Burswood.

“There was clearly a meeting between the premier and Mr Packer on March 24 (2011), and the purpose of that meeting was for Crown to brief the premier on their exciting development plans,” Mr Buswell said.

“In the context of that conversation there was some very brief dialogue around the Stadium - but let us understand the dialogue was already in the public domain.

“There was nothing secret about the meeting, and it was entirely appropriate.”

The West Australian

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