Minister called on ‘advice’

The restoration of the Guildford Hotel, which has fallen into unsightly disrepair, remains stuck in red tape. d410751
The restoration of the Guildford Hotel, which has fallen into unsightly disrepair, remains stuck in red tape. d410751

Mr Jacob said the information could expose the Government to legal action.

Opposition spokeswoman for Heritage Margaret Quirk said when questioned in State Parliament this week on his failure to take action to restore the hotel, Mr Jacob would not table the advice or give further details.

Ms Quirk said it stretched the bounds of credibility that Mr Jacob would not release the advice.

‘Mr Jacob has previously based a refusal to answer a question in Parliament on legal advice,’ she said.

‘When the Auditor General asked him to produce the advice, Mr Jacob could produce neither the advice nor any record of it existing.

‘The Guildford Hotel is a shameful example of a heritage building decaying before our very eyes and it appears the minister is hiding behind legal advice which he claims prevents him from acting.’

Member for Midland Michelle Roberts also weighed in on the issue and said the Barnett Government had failed to show leadership on the hotel.

Giving background to the Parliament, she said: ‘The Arson Squad of the WA Police Service investigated the fire. Their findings have not been released into the public domain, but it is understood that the source of the fire was not pinpointed. For this reason, the Arson Squad file on the case remains open.’

Ms Roberts asked Mr Jacob if he intended to leave the hotel open to the elements for a sixth winter because he had failed to act.

Trained as a lawyer before entering politics, Ms Quirk said it was strange ‘that this (legal advice) is the first occasion it’s ever been mentioned’.

‘Mr Jacob can reassure Western Australians he is doing everything he can to restore the hotel by simply releasing the advice,’ she said.

Both Ms Quirk and Ms Roberts called on the Government to intervene immediately and stop ‘stringing along the Guildford community’.