The Deputy Prime Minister has today given his stamp of approval to the purchase of the Leppington Triangle, declaring on 2GB that the misuse of $26.7m of taxpayer money will eventually be “hailed as a good decision”.
Last week, the Department of Infrastructure appointed an independent investigator to examine the deal. Today, the Deputy Prime Minister has undermined that process by suggesting that people will look back and say “what a bargain that was”.
In a scathing ANAO Audit Report, the processes leading to this deal were slammed with the price paid per hectare by the Morrison Government being 22 times higher than the price paid by the NSW Government for its portion of the Leppington Triangle.
According to the ANAO, the Department of Infrastructure “fell short of ethical standards”, with public servants meeting with landowners in coffee shops and failing to ensure proper probity measures were followed.
The ANAO report also identified critical flaws with the Deputy PM’s own department’s chosen route for the Northern Road, with global aviation planning firm Landrum & Brown finding “serious issues with the proposed Northern road alignment”, and labelling it a “NO GO”. The Department of Infrastructure went ahead regardless, despite possible impacts on a future second runway for the airport.
For the Deputy PM to tick off these processes is simply extraordinary and calls into serious question his judgement when it comes to the billions of dollars of infrastructure spending he oversees.
Today’s comments again make it clear that the Morrison Government simply cannot be trusted when it comes to infrastructure spending.
Australia urgently needs a National Integrity Commission.