Labor welcomes the Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit’s inquiry into the Coalition’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
Shadow Minister Catherine King wrote to the Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit requesting the inquiry just days after the report’s Melbourne Cup-timed release.
“Labor welcomes the action by the Audit Committee as the Australian people deserve better than a Deputy Prime Minister who awards funding based on his feelings then hides from scrutiny,” Ms King said.
“Hard working organisations missed out to companies that were trading while insolvent, under investigation from ASIC and trying to raise matching funds with aqua tokens.”
“The scathing audit found this Minister approved funding for 17 percent of applications against advice from the Department, overturned 28 percent of the Department’s recommendations, and awarded a grant to an ineligible project.”
Shadow Minister King said Deputy Prime Minister McCormack has failed to explain his decision making and refused to comply with Senate Orders to produce documents relating to ministerial decisions.
“Michael McCormack must stop acting like the rules don’t apply to him and start being honest with the Australian people,” Ms King said.
“The action by the Audit Committee – chaired by a Government MP – demonstrates that Michael McCormack must come clean on which hard working Australians missed out on funding because he made decisions based on his feelings.”
Deputy Chair of the JCPAA Julian Hill noted the Committee’s strong record of independently scrutinising Ministerial decisions.
“I’ve read a lot of audit reports but this one is scathing and raises very serious questions,” Mr Hill said.
“Ministers must be accountable for their decisions and not hide from scrutiny.”
“It will be a lot of work to get to the bottom of what has gone on here. I would encourage everyone who was not successful to make a submission and put their views to the inquiry.”
More information on the inquiry is available on the JCPAA website. Submissions close 20 January 2020. Given the inadequate responses from the Morrison Government in the last week, Labor will continue to pursue these regional rorts through the Parliament.