23 October 2020
Not a tractor this time: Premier’s office shreds paper trail linking Premier to pork-barrel grant scheme
Extraordinary evidence heard by the Public Accountability Committee this morning from senior staff in the Premier’s office confirms a routine practice of destroying briefing documents even where these contain notes and approvals from the Premier.
Greens MP and Chair of the Public Accountability David Shoebridge said:
“The evidence of the Premier’s own senior advisor this morning was that all of the briefing notes that went to the Premier to authorise $141.8 million of grants to local councils were shredded, then deleted.
“The Premier’s staffers’ evidence was that the office shredded briefing notes that had the Premier’s comments and approvals, the original electronic files were also deleted.
“The Government then comes into Parliament and tells us no documents exist. They don’t exist because they shredded them.
“It is simply too convenient that these documents directly tracing what the Premier knew, and her comments on it, have been destroyed.
“When asked about their obligations under the State Records Act 1998, it was claimed that the two line email saying “this is approved” is an equivalent record to these detailed marked-up working advice notes.
“These “working advice notes” included advice that $90 million should be provided to Hornsby Council despite no business case and no merit assessment of the projects being funded.
“Did the Premier know her staff were routinely destroying these critical state records? Is it still happening? These are questions that immediately arise.
“It’s time for the Premier to come clean about these dodgy grant allocations and stop hiding behind staffers and the destruction of documents,” Mr Shoebridge said