Labor Moves to Prevent Another Government Shredding Spree

NSW Labor will introduce laws to prevent the Premier and her Government

from embarking on any more illegal document shredding sprees.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) has referred her report on

Gladys Berejiklian’s office to the Independent Commission Against Corruption

(ICAC) following a complaint from the Shadow Minister for Local Government,

Greg Warren.

The complaint stemmed from revelations the Premier’s office shredded

documents relating to the controversial Stronger Communities Fund. Coalition held

seats received 95 per cent of funds from the $252 million grant program.

The IPC recommended legislative changes would prevent the Premier’s office –

and other Ministers – from engaging in the destruction of important documents

relating to Government processes and approvals.

The Premier admitted to pork-barrelling late last year, stating on 26 November:

"All Governments and all Oppositions make commitments to the community in

order to curry favour. That's part of the political process whether we like it or

not.”

“It’s not something the community likes...but it’s an accusation I will wear.”

The NSW Labor Jodi McKay said Labor will introduce a bill when Parliament

returns to establish the reckless destruction of State records as an offence.

“I find it extraordinary that we even have to do this. It should be common place

that State records and important documents are kept by the Premier’s office.

Pork barrelling is not ethical or normal behaviour and neither is a culture of

cover-up. This is about restoring integrity and trust to politics in NSW,” Ms

McKay said.

Mr Warren urged the Premier to support the changes in the interest of

transparency.

“This Stronger Communities Fund grants saga really has exposed the level of

secrecy and deceit within this Government,” Mr Warren said.

An Upper House inquiry into the Integrity, Efficacy and Value for Money of

NSW Government Grants Programs, which will resume in February, is

examining the rorting of the Stronger Communities Fund.

Ms McKay renewed calls for the Premier to front the Public Accountability

Committee to answer questions about the shredding saga.

“If the Premier has nothing to hide she should agree to appear before the

Inquiry. Coalition-held seats received 95 per cent of funds from the $252 million

program. Gladys Berejiklian used public money for political gain, communities

across NSW missed out and then her staff destroyed the evidence to cover it all

up. NSW deserves answers.”

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