Morrison Government slammed in relation to water procurement probity and value

16 July 2020

The Government made $190 million worth of water purchases without a proper value for money approach, and without properly managing conflicts of interest, according to today’s Auditor-General report.

The report was prompted by calls for an investigation into among other things, the $80 million purchase of water from a company, linked to Coalition MP and Minister, Angus Taylor.

Barnaby Joyce was the Minister at the time. 

The report revealed that the Liberal National Government had failed to develop a framework designed to maximise the value for money of strategic water entitlements purchased through limited tender arrangements. 

It also said that the Government:

  • did not negotiate the price for the water entitlements it purchased in all but one instance; 
  • used different probity management arrangements to those applied to open tenders;
  • failed to clearly document conflict of interest declarations.

How can the Australian people have confidence in the governance and management of water when there are still so many questions to answer about why these purchases were conducted in this manner. 

This report demonstrates the Liberals and Nationals’ maladministration, and the lack of ministerial accountability for the use of public funds. 

This report demonstrates the need for the Morrison Government implement a strong national integrity commission without delay. 

This report is hot on the heels of another Auditor-General’s report that found widespread maladministration of decisions under environmental law. 

The Prime Minister must explain why the Auditor-General continues to find that administration and conflict of interest arrangements are deeply flawed across his Government.