Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas today accused Premier Weatherill and the Labor Government of a disgraceful attempted whitewash of the ‘Cartridgegate’ scandal.
“Rather than ensuring an independent investigation by appointing the Auditor-General under the Public Finance and Audit Act, Mr Weatherill has appointed a committee of public servants called the ‘Procurement Working Group’,” Mr Lucas said.
“In fact, the Chair of the committee is the Chief Executive of Mr Weatherill‟s own department and includes other senior officials of the Department of Treasury and Finance, Crown Solicitor’s Office and the State Procurement Board.
“The obvious question to Mr Weatherill is what have they got to hide and why won‟t they appoint the independent Auditor-General?
“The Auditor-General virtually has the powers of a Royal Commissioner and can require the production of documents and require witnesses to answer questions. Public servants on a ‘working group’ simply do not have the same powers to uncover all details of offences committed in ‘Cartridgegate’.”
Minister O‟Brien confirmed today that since June 2009, 41 government entities were involved with 500 invoices totalling $921,333 in purchases.
The Minister also conceded that there was currently evidence of gifts being received by staff in about 20 Government entities.
“It is important to note that these totals do not include purchases prior to June 2009 or purchases from companies other than the eight identified in the Victorian and Western Australian investigations,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is now clear Mr Weatherill and his Labor Government are not intent on publicly revealing all of these embarrassing examples of their financial mismanagement.
“Instead, they want to rely on political spin to organise a ‘political fix’ to what is a major embarrassment for Mr Weatherill and his Government.”