Latest government rort must be investigated by the Senate

Senator Larissa Waters will call the Senate to vote on an inquiry into the Coalition’s rorting of government grants, which will include the Shine Energy’s controversially won federal funding to investigate a coal-fired power station at Collinsville, QLD.

Waters said the inquiry has never been so important, following reports today showing links between Shine Energy and multinational mining giant, Glencore.

“The Coalition is out of control. Another week, another article exposing their systematic and strategic misuse of public funds to buy election outcomes,” Senator Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate, said.

“That is why on the first sitting day back in parliament, we’ll urge the Senate to vote to set up the inquiry into the Coalition’s flagrant pork barrelling and use of funding programs as an election slush fund.

“The Greens have called for a Senate inquiry into rampant pork-barrelling of federal grant programs. The Supporting Reliable Energy Infrastructure program that awarded $3.3M to Shine Energy prior to any application should be investigated as part of that inquiry.

“This is Sports Rorts on a whole new level. Shine Energy had no relevant experience and no past projects. They have a clear connection to Glencore, a mining magnate that would directly benefit from the power station’s construction and has been lobbying the government to support the coal industry.

“We support calls for an auditor general investigation into how an inexperienced company secured $3.3M for a feasibility study, especially if supported by a wealthy multinational mining corporation.

“Propping up a project that was championed by the Nationals in North Queensland, but rejected by the existing UNGI program is yet another example of this government using public money to suit its own political interests.

“We’ve seen grants awarded with no criteria, grants that ignored the criteria but were in marginal seats, and now grants with criteria drafted specifically to suit a pre-selected project after the funding decision has been made.”

Senator Waters, who is the Greens spokesperson for Democracy, said today’s revelations vindicate the Greens’ ten years of calls for a federal corruption watchdog.

“It’s been almost a  year since the Senate passed my bill for a federal ICAC with teeth. But the Morrison government is refusing to call the bill to a vote in the House of Representatives.

“I ask the Coalition: why are you so afraid of public scrutiny?”

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