refuses to disclose which businesses received grants
disclose where millions in taxpayer funds spent
example of government’s lack of transparency
Peter Gutwein must give the Tasmanian public
details of which businesses received grants as part of the $26 million Small
Business Hardship scheme.
Shadow Treasurer David O’Byrne said the Premier
cannot hide from scrutiny on the expenditure of millions of dollars in taxpayer
“The Premier himself told Parliament that ‘because the Public Accounts Committee follows the government dollar, it can inquire into just about anything, in fact, everything’ related to the government’s response to COVID-19,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“And yet, Sarah Courtney has refused to provide the
most basic information about the $26 million of government expenditure on
business hardship grants.
“Labor understands the hardship experienced by the
business community and notes the concerns some have expressed about disclosing
details. But nobody is going to judge businesses for seeking help while they
are struggling during a global pandemic.
“The grant application documents make it very clear
that there is an expectation of accountability for how public money is spent,
and applicants were made aware that the information may be made public.
“This is an extraordinary example of the
government’s lack of transparency and the Premier cannot use COVID-19 as an excuse
for its decision to keep these details secret.
“Labor believes there were legitimate issues with the administration of the Small Business Hardship scheme and we will seek answers through the inquiry process.
“But the fact that the government cannot even provide the most basic of details about the scheme is more than disappointing – it is shameful. The public has a right to know where its money is being directed.”