Fort Fortuna, a Commonwealth owned site, has been surplus to Defence requirements since 2008.
In 2009, Defence wrote to the Victorian State Government and the City of Greater Bendigo regarding a potential priority sale.
The council determined it was not in a position to purchase the site and consulted with the State regarding a State-supported priority sale submission.
The Victorian State Government asked the Federal Government to transfer the site at no cost and provide additional sums of money to the State Government. The Federal Government declined the State’s offer as it did not offer any value to the Australian people or the Commonwealth.
This remains the position of the Commonwealth.
In February 2012 it was decided to sell the property on the open market and the City of Greater Bendigo and the State Government were advised accordingly in March 2012.
I completely reject the statement from Lisa Ruffell, Mayor of the Greater City of Bendigo, that I cancelled a meeting today as I was unwilling to fly down from Canberra. I am in fact in Brisbane, on Defence business, on a trip that has been planned for weeks.
If the Greater City of Bendigo has a reasonable offer to make, I can meet with them tomorrow in Canberra.
I note that the Greater City of Bendigo and the State Government is still welcome to purchase the property at auction on Friday.
Senator Feeney's office: Jeffrey Von Drehnen 0477 348 476