Shadow Minister Catherine King has written to the Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit requesting an inquiry into the Auditor-General’s scathing audit of the Coalition’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
Ms King said an inquiry by the JCPAA is an important next step in examining the maladministration by the Morrison Government.
“A week after the Government sought to bury this scathing Audit by releasing it during the running of the Melbourne Cup, Deputy Prime Minister McCormack is yet to offer any kind of response,” Ms King said.
“Michael McCormack has said critics are “cherry picking” from the report. No-one is “cherry picking”, Deputy Prime Minister the whole report is scathing of your Government.”
“My letter to the Chair highlights no less than seventeen findings from the Auditor-General that require further examination by the Committee – including that the Ministerial Panel rejected 28 per cent of applications the Department recommended, and instead approved 17 per cent of applications not been recommended.”
Deputy Chair of the JCPAA Julian Hill urged colleagues to back the referral noting the Committee’s strong record of independently scrutinising Ministerial decisions.
“I have read some pretty scathing audit reports over my time as Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts and Audit Committee, but this one is really serious,” Mr Hill said.
“I agree that these issues requires a full, public investigation given the Auditor-General’s findings.”
“The Public Accounts and Audit Committee is one of the most powerful Committee’s in the Parliament and would be the most appropriate forum to examine these matters, and to understand what exactly has gone on.”
Given the inadequate responses from the Morrison Government in the last week, this referral is the first step in Labor pursuing these regional rorts through the Parliament.