The Senate has today passed two motions ordering the Government must produce documents on matters relating to its mismanagement of the $220.5 million Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
Labor moved the Orders in response to repeated refusals by Deputy Prime Minister McCormack to release information in light of the scathing Auditor-General’s report No.12 2019-20 Award of Funding Under the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages (RJIP).
It has now been over a week since the Government sought to bury this scathing Audit by releasing it less than an hour before the Melbourne Cup.
It’s time for the Deputy Prime Minister to start being honest with the Australian people, release these documents and provide a full explanation of the Ministerial Panels’ approach.
Motions ordering the production of documents are one of the most serious steps the Senate can take to hold the Government to account.
The Senate ordered the Government provide by no later than 3.30pm on 14 November 2019:
- All written briefings and responses to and from Ministerial Panels informing the approval of grant funding, including all scoring and assessment of applications.
- All records and reasons by Ministerial Panels to award funding to applications that had not been recommended by the Department.
- All records and reasons by Ministerial Panels to not award funding to applications that had been recommended by the Department.
- Any documents identifying projects as ineligible or late, including any of the six that received funding.
- Any documents identifying co-funding exemptions, including the four granted an exemption.
- The assurance review contracted by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.
- The July 2017 MoU under which the Industry Department’s Business Grants Hub was engaged and documents that show how the cost of $8.078 million was determined.
- All documents relating to the selection of the Business Grants Hub and correspondence between the Departments of Industry and Infrastructure.
- The request for quote and final contract between the Department of Industry and the contractor who undertook the assessment process at a cost of $3.15 million.
The motions passed the Senate on the voices.
Given the inadequate responses from the Morrison Government, Labor will continue to pursue these regional rorts through the Parliament.