Nats seek Labor spending inquiry

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

The Labor Government has come under fire for its Local Projects, Local Jobs program, with members of the Opposition requesting a special inquirer to scrutinise spending of the State’s finances.

Nationals WA deputy leader Jacqui Boyell called on the State Government in Parliament last week to appoint a special inquirer to examine the expenditure of $39 million under the program. “In my view, the Local Projects, Local Jobs fund is a clear abuse of taxpayer funds,” she said.

“Communities have seen essential services such as education funding being cut while the Government has said that we need to impose savings measures but has been splashing around taxpayer funds that apparently deliver important upgrades to facilities without what seems to be a formal program or without giving any reasoning behind how they became more essential than another project that could have received funding.”

The request comes under Section 24 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994, the same section the John Langoulant special inquiry came under which examined the Barnett government’s financial management. Ms Boydell said a special inquiry would be an important test of the State Government’s commitment to being transparent and accountable.

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Pilbara MP Kevin Michel said the request was a political stunt.

“The grants given under the Local Projects, Local Jobs program were one-off grants for specific purposes that were identified through local community groups asking for assistance,” he said.

“They are not an ongoing funding source — there is nothing for an inquiry to look into. It’s deeply concerning that Jacqui Boydell and the Nationals believe these community organisations and clubs don’t deserve support and funding.

“Not content with neglecting these groups in government, they now want to heartlessly deny them much-needed funds in opposition.”

The motion for the special inquirer lapsed and debate will continue in Parliament this month.

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