Time for new era of accountability


The resignation of the NSW Premier today must bring with it a new era of accountability from the NSW Coalition who have increasingly attempted to evade answering to the Parliament and the people of NSW for spending of public money including on pork barrelling grant schemes.

The Greens in the NSW Upper House forced the release of key documents that underpin today's announcement by ICAC of an inquiry into Premier Berejiklian's involvement in two grants. The ongoing grants scandals in NSW must now lead to fundamental changes and an end to the culture of pork barrelling.

Work by the Greens NSW in Parliament exposed the Stronger Communities grant scheme as a blatant pork barrel funnelling money to Coalition electorates. We also forced the release of documents that raise serious questions about the grant to the Clay Target Association and the involvement of Daryl Maguire, that seriously questions how the public interest was served in this $5.5 million grant.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: "This is about more than any one MP or any Premier, it's about changing the culture of politics so that politicians stop treating public money as their own campaign money.

"Whoever the new Premier is, they must commit to comprehensively banning pork barrelling and commit to transparency as a default.

"With ICAC's announcement today hopefully after all the secrecy, shredding and stonewalling we'll finally get some answers.

"I forced the release of the documents about these grant schemes through Parliament because something just didn't seem right.

"We have referred a number of highly irregular grant schemes the Premier was involved in to ICAC and it's heartening to see the Wagga Clay Target grant now getting deeper examination.

"It shouldn't take the powers of Parliament plus forensic examination to determine what is being done with public money, all critical information on public grants needs to be transparent and public.

"This sorry saga shows the need for a properly independent upper house, and for a third voice in politics who will speak truth to power and keep asking the hard questions," Mr Shoebridge said.