In a media release issued this afternoon NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has called on Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro to resign following revelations today that he repeatedly misled the NSW Parliament over his involvement in a decision to use millions of taxpayer dollars to buy a stake in a loss-making South Coast oyster company.
Mr Foley said in the release: "In September Mr Barilaro told a Parliamentary committee nine times under oath that the decision to spend $3.3 million of a fund he controls to buy a stake in Bega’s Australia’s Oyster Coast was made “at arm’s length” from government.
“John Barilaro repeatedly misled Parliament and he has to go. Nine times he told the Parliament he had nothing to do with the decision to spend $3.3 million on an oyster company chaired by a Liberal luminary and yet now we learn he signed the document which approved it." NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
The media release continued:
Yet, according to documents obtained by the NSW Labor Opposition through Freedom of Information laws, (see above) Mr Barilaro signed off on the approval of the controversial purchase of the stake in AOC on 5 April 2018.
On 25 May 2018 Mr Barilaro announced that his NSW Go Equity Fund had partnered with a private equity fund, ROC Partners, which is also acting as the State Government’s investment advisor, to jointly invest in AOC.
The investment – which received the support of local member Andrew Constance – has angered local oyster farmers because it has created an unfair playing field in the local industry.
AOC is chaired by a former director of the Liberal Party’s policy unit and a member of the HR Nicholls Society, David Trebeck.
Since his appearance at Estimates in September Mr Barilaro has failed to correct the record at the earliest opportunity meaning his deception is a prima facie case of misleading Parliament and therefore he should resign.
Today (Tuesday) at a press conference in Macquarie Street Mr Foley called on the Premier to either sack Mr Barilaro or resign. Listen below....
VIDEO: NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley has called on Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Barilaro to resign following revelations today that he repeatedly misled the NSW Parliament over his involvement in a decision to use millions of taxpayer dollars to buy a stake in a loss-making South Coast oyster company.
Today under questioning from the Labor Opposition Mr Barilaro did not deny he had signed the funding approval and continued to insist any decision was made at “arms’ length”.
“By any standards this is not government at arm’s length, this is John Barilaro writing a cheque to give taxpayers’ money to a single oyster company chaired by a Liberal Party big wig. The Premier should have the decency to sack him or the Deputy Premier must have the decency to resign.” NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
Making comment today Labor candidate for Bega Leanne Atkinson said “Andrew Constance needs to back Labor’s call to put an end to this mess and divest the State Government’s investment in this single oyster company. The decision by the Liberals and Nationals to favour one company over other growers has created an uneven playing fields and threatens to send small family-owned businesses to the wall.
“The local oyster growers deserve answers and they deserve them now. Andrew Constance must own up to what he knew about this fund and when.” Ms Atkinson concluded