NSW Labor is demanding the Premier and her Ministers end a culture of cover-up, after a parliamentary inquiry heard documents relating to the approval of grants in the $252 million Stronger Communities Fund were shredded and deleted from a senior staffer’s computer. SMH: Senior bureaucrat did not see signed paperwork before distributing $250 million fund
Gladys Berejiklian’s senior policy advisor Sarah Lau said the Premier marked documents during the approval process, which Ms Lau later destroyed in the shredder and removed from her computer.
95% of the funds were given to Councils in Coalition-held seats.
The Premier’s former Chief of Staff, Sarah Cruickshank also told the inquiry that Gladys Berejiklian did not declare her relationship with Daryl Maguire when she issued $40,000 in six grants to his Wagga Wagga electorate in 2017 and 2018.
Ms Cruikshank said the Premier should have disclosed the relationship because it was a conflict of interest.
The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “The Premier has repeatedly refused to disclose a conflict of interest.
“Gladys Berejiklian didn’t disclose her relationship when handing out thousands of dollars in grants from the Premier’s discretionary fund. She didn’t mention it during a $1.5 million Badgery’s Creek deal that would have cleared her partner Daryl Maguire’s debts.
“This is a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Senior Ministers also have a responsibility to do their duty under the Code. Right now they’re tolerating bad behaviour.
“It’s a cartel of cover-up from a desperate Government protecting an embattled Premier. And it must stop,” Ms McKay said.
“Gladys Berejiklian is undermining the office of the Premier and the integrity of the NSW Government. The Premier should resign.”