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Nats call on Labor slush fund to be referred to special inquiry

For more information, contact Josh Nyman Wa (Communications and research adviser).

The Nationals WA have called for a special inquiry into a McGowan Government program which splurged $39 million of taxpayer money on pet Labor projects, including a Perth-based Chihuahua rescue service.

Deputy Leader Jacqui Boydell today moved a motion in the Legislative Council urging the State Government to appoint a Special Inquirer under section 24 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 to examine the Local Projects, Local Jobs program.

Ms Boydell said The Nationals were simply holding the Government to account and asking the Premier to uphold his own claim that his Government would adhere to the highest standard of transparency.

“If the Premier has nothing to hide then he would welcome an inquiry into the Local Projects, Local Jobs scheme,” Ms Boydell said.

“I suspect the Premier will not call for a special inquiry because he is afraid of what’s lurking beneath the surface. He is fearful an inquiry would expose Local Projects, Local Jobs for what it is; blatant pork barreling into Labor seats and the splurging of taxpayer money at a time when the Government is preaching Budget restraint and cutting education services in regional areas.

“Just one month since his $1.1 million Langoulant report was handed down, the Premier has gone against the inquiry’s recommendations for greater transparency in delivering Government projects.”

Under the Local Projects, Local Jobs program community groups did not apply for the grants, instead projects were nominated by Labor MPs or candidates and signed off by Labor staffers and senior leaders.

Among the projects funded were $120,000 on two new Perth dog parks, $5000 for Perth Chihuahua Rescue Inc and $20,000 for an inner-city playgroup which one parent said did not need the money.

“At the same time Mark McGowan is jeopardising the education of regional students through the closure of Moora Residential College his Labor Government is splashing cash across the metro area, with $14.8 million spent in 34 Perth seats in just eight months,” Ms Boydell said.

“The Nationals believe this spending needs to be scrutinized, especially when regional communities are constantly being hit with reductions in core services and told the State has no money.”