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Treasurer dodges questions on dodgy grants process

The Treasurer Michael Ferguson continues to dodge accountability over the Liberal Party’s dodgy 2021 grants scandal.

Facing the Public Accounts Committee this morning, Mr Ferguson refused to answer questions about the decision-making concerning the administration of public funds, the criteria used, or how conflicts of interest were handled.

And, Liberal MPs Lara Alexander and Dean Young, who are implicated in the scandal, failed to declare a conflict of interest despite being on the committee today.

The pork barreling grants were paid for in 2021 by the Liberal Party plundering the Treasurer’s Reserve – a contingency fund to be used primarily in emergency situations – with multiple Liberal candidates having close personal connections to organisations that benefited from them.

Given that the allocation of grants did not go through a parliamentary process, there is no excuse for the evasion of parliamentary accountability shown by the Treasurer during today’s hearing.

The Public Accounts Committee is well within its remit to ask the questions that it did today but the Treasurer’s refusal to answer just makes the stench around this worse.

This is taxpayers’ money being used as a Liberal party slush fund and the taxpayers of Tasmania have every right to be appalled at the secrecy and cover-up surrounding it.

Rebecca White MP
Labor Leader