WESTERN SYDNEY AIRPORT ENVIRONMENTAL “OFFSETS”

By Terri Butler MP

29 April 2021

Labor is deeply troubled by reports in the Guardian Australia yesterday that the federal Department of Infrastructure has purchased environmental offsets associated with Western Sydney Airport from organisations and individuals who have consulted for government on those very same projects. 

The Morrison Government must urgently explain the expenditure of $37.5 million on the selected offset sites.

What due diligence processes did the Morrison Government undertake in relation to the transactions, how did it manage conflicts of interest and why do there appear to be “windfall profits” resulting from the deals?

The report follows the Morrison Government’s dodgy Leppington land deal that saw a $26.7 million overspend on a piece of land valued at only $3 million.

The Deputy Prime Minister called that deal “a bargain” and a “good deal”. How would he describe this one?

Even before this report, there were already significant questions over the legitimacy of the environmental offset plan approved by then Environment Minister, now Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, for the Western Sydney Airport site. 

Scandals like this are exactly why Labor formed a Senate inquiry into the planning, construction and management of the Western Sydney Airport project.

We will continue to scrutinise all decisions the Morrison Government has made in relation to this important infrastructure project and call on the government to come clean and fix up its act.