Every day more revelations come from the rotting carcass that is Malcolm Turnbull’s $440 million grant of taxpayer money to close banker and miner friends at the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
It defies logic that the Treasury and Finance would have provided support for this decision, particularly given the lack of process that led to the $440 million being granted in the first place.
The rapid transfer of $440 million from the Commonwealth to the GBRF costs the taxpayer at least $11 million dollars in public debt interest.
Instead of contributing to paying down debt, the $440 million is accruing interest for the Foundation, and under the terms of the Turnbull Government’s, the first $21 million of interest can be used for administration costs.
It’s hard to believe that the Treasurer or Finance Minister were absent at the meeting that saw $440 million handed over without any sort of competitive or tender process beforehand.
This scandal has given rise to a number of questions for the Treasury and Finance who have important roles to play in the Expenditure Review Committee process and safeguarding taxpayer money.
- When did the Treasurer and Finance Minister first learn of this proposal?
- When did Treasury and Finance first learn that the $440 million would be provided to the GBRF?
- When did Treasury and Finance learn that the $440 million would be provided in the financial year 2017-18 only?
- Did the Treasury and/or Finance sign-off on this funding being provided without a contestable or tender process?
- Did Finance argue that funding should have been broken up and provided over a longer-term period with appropriate milestones needing to be met before more funding being provided?
- Did Finance scrutinise the payment of $44 million for the Foundation for administration costs?
- Was Finance asked to provide a costing for this policy?
- Did Finance approve the costings of this policy?
- When did Finance enter the $440 million into the Budget estimates?
The Treasury and Finance need to attend and fully participate in the Senate inquiry.