LIA FINOCCHIARO MLA
LEADER of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition
Gunner Government still silent on transparency of COVID-19 spending
The Gunner Government has failed to confirm openness, transparency and accountability measures for its billions of dollars of spending, Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro said today.
“Following pressure from the CLP, the Gunner Government committed the Territory Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to meet monthly to examine the $3.4 billion of government spending passed on one day of Parliament in March,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.
“We are appalled at how casually the Gunner Government is ignoring calls for scrutiny at a time when Territorians have placed a lot of faith in Government to get this right. The Chief Minister cannot hide behind COVID-19 as a reason not to be held to account.
“The Gunner Government must publish updated treasury documentation in advance of PAC meetings and hold meetings in full view of Territorians.
“The Gunner Government has failed to answer whether it will ensure up to date Treasury documents are provided in advance of the meetings and for the meetings be broadcast on the internet for further public scrutiny.
“The Government has abolished the pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook, so there is no way of seeing the real state of the Territory’s finances before the election, which amounts to secrecy and cover-up on the Government’s part. I’m sure Territory finances are in an unenviable state, but that doesn’t mean the Government can act like a dictatorship and not be open, transparent and accountable.
“There needs to be a robust process of examination and accountability with regards to the Gunner Government’s spending and initiatives in response to COVID-19, particularly given its poor track record of budget blowouts and badly prioritised spending.
“The Gunner Government’s haphazard decision making on things like dropping the solar tariff overnight, cancelling fireworks months in advance and pulling the guillotine down on applications for the Home Improvement Scheme are very good reasons a close and thorough look at the Government’s spending is desperately needed,” Mrs Finocchiaro concluded.