MEDIA RELEASE: EVERYTHING IN THE AUDIT REPORT ON THE REEF GRANT COMES BACK TO A SINGLE WORD - FAIL
TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
The release today of the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) investigation in to awarding of a $443.3 Million to a small private foundation, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, comes back to a single word - Fail.
The damning report found that the government:
failed to properly scrutinise the Foundation’s proposal in regard to the capacity and capability of the Foundation's delivery partners to scale-up their activities;
failed to adequately check the Foundation's past fundraising performance – whether they could deliver on their claims;
failed to realise that the total administration costs of the Grant could be almost double what they thought – “the department focused on the foundation's costs, with no evaluation attention given to the administration costs of the foundation's delivery partners (pg. 9);”
failed to consider government debt - “no consideration was given to the financial cost to the Commonwealth (in terms of additional public debt interest) of paying the full grant amount in 2017─18” (pg. 31);
failed to properly look for other funding partners – picking a winner in their corporate mates; and
failed to properly consider whether the grant proposal would deliver value for money – taxpayer’s money.
The Report makes it clear that the Department only took three days to decide on the Foundation as the preferred recipient of the huge grant (pp.25-27). The Report also makes clear the Department signed a funding agreement allowing the Foundation and its partners to spend nearly $87 million on administration costs (p.63).
This is a Government that is reckless with other people’s money.
The simple message to Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg is - it’s not your money -it’s not your money to throw away to your corporate friends.
The Reef belongs to all of us.
It’s a critical period now for coral reefs around the world and this government had no right to throw away nearly half a billion dollars without proper due diligence and process.
It’s clear from this report that the Great Barrier Reef Foundation should not have been given this money. It is almost laughable that the Department helped them write their funding proposal and it still falls short.
If elected Labor will be demanding all remaining funds and interest are returned in accordance with the contract.
WEDNESDAY, 16 JANUARY 2019