WA sealed a good deal with James Packer despite the billionaire being granted a $35 million discount on land on which he plans to build a six-star, 500-room hotel, Premier Colin Barnett says.
The links between Mr Barnett and the media heir-turned-casino mogul became a State election issue this week after it was revealed a meeting between the two in March 2011 included discussion of the potential for the State's new $1 billion stadium to be built next to Packer's Crown Casino complex.
The stadium was approved for the Burswood site in June 2011.
Speaking on Fairfax Radio today, Mr Barnett denied that the meeting with Mr Packer had been to explicitly discuss the stadium but had instead been arranged for Mr Packer to brief him on the hotel plans.
Mr Barnett insisted the State had brokered a good deal for the 5.8ha of land at the Burswood Park golf course, which had been valued at $95 million but which was eventually sold for $60 million.
“It was put at $95 million, and a lot of people would dispute whether that was realistic because there were no other buyers and the site is an old rubbish tip,” Mr Barnett said.
“It was discounted because it needed cleaning up ... and I reckon it is pretty good. To sell a fairway built over a rubbish tip (for $60 million) is a pretty good outcome. You can build an entire senior high school for that.”
The State Government previously admitted to serious concerns about how cabinet documents detailing the meeting between Mr Barnett and Mr Packer came to be leaked to a journalist.