The ACT government is asking $2000 for the release of information on profits made by the ACT Labor Party from changing the status on the lease of the Weston Creek Labor Club.
The Canberra Liberals, who submitted the freedom of information request, say they compromised to only request documents relating to the Weston Creek club after they were told access to documents relating to all three Labor clubs would cost over $6000.
A letter from the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate said the request will take 65 hours – with nearly 29 hours allocated to deciding what it would release, at a cost of $614.56.
The letter also said looking for the documents would take 36 hours and cost $376.62 and photocopying would cost $1096. The directorate said the total would come to $2087.
ACT Planning Minister Simon Corbell recently came under fire from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which accused him of not properly consulting the public interest and of responding in a formulaic fashion to 13 lease variation approvals since late 2010.
The 13 leases that have been approved as no longer concessional are mostly clubs, and include the Weston Creek venue.
Concessional leases, long a controversial issue, are low-cost leases granted to groups for activities that benefit the community.
If they apply to have the lease no longer concessional, allowing for the site to be sold or developed, the minister has to weigh up whether the change would disadvantage the community.
The change does not grant development rights, however, and clubs or groups are required to pay out the lease.
The Combined Community Councils has criticised the process, saying clubs were profiting from conversions, particularly when they sold the land for development, and community facilities were suffering.
The lease for the Weston Creek Labor Club at Stirling was made no longer concessional in 2012.
The ACT government has refused to reveal the amount paid in lease variation charges, saying it could not disclose taxpayer information.
Opposition Deputy Leader Alistair Coe said he wanted to ensure due diligence was carried out in the club's case.
Mr Coe has sought a waiver of the $2000 freedom of information charge citing the public interest, and expected to hear back from the directorate within a week.
"It would look quite dodgy for this one not to go through in the interests of probity," he said.
Canberra Labor Clubs, whose board is made up of Labor members, runs clubs in Civic, Charnwood and Weston Creek.
Mr Corbell told the assembly this month he "acted on a number of occasions to seek to reject proposals to redevelop concessional leases for private development" and acted transparently in the public interest.