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Labor and crossbench senators are pushing for a special estimates hearing into the government’s $660 million car park rorts as soon as possible.
This week, a report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) revealed the government had funnelled money from a program to fund commuter car parks towards projects in Coalition-held or marginal Labor seats ahead of the 2019 election.
The report found 87% of the projects, funded through the Urban Construction Fund, were in Coalition held electorates or target electorates. The seats with the most projects — like Goldstein and Kooyong in Victoria — are all held by the Coalition. Then-urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge and staff in the Prime Minister’s Office were involved in the key decisions.
Members of the Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport called for committee chair Nationals Senator Susan McDonald to hold a spillover estimates hearing.
Under Senate procedures, a spillover estimates hearing can be held if three members write to the chair requesting it. Labor senators Glenn Sterle and Malarndirri McCarthy, and the Greens’ Peter Whish-Wilson requested McDonald hold the hearing.
Labor’s urban infrastructure spokesman Andrew Giles said the ANAO had “uncovered a major scandal“.
“We know that the Morrison government failed both in terms of good governance and project planning, leading to ineligible projects being funded, massive cost blowouts and ongoing delays in delivery,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.crikey.com.au
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