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Premier Dominic Perrottet is under fire after it emerged he was at a high-level meeting that sealed the fate of a controversial $40 billion rail corporation despite warnings it should be dismantled over safety and financial concerns.
The meeting in September last year to discuss the future of the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE) included Mr Perrottet, then premier Gladys Berejiklian and one of NSW’s most powerful public servants, Treasury secretary Mike Pratt.
Premier Dominic Perrottet has rejected Labor’s claims that TAHE was a budget deception and that any suggestion that safety was compromised as a result of the corporation being established was unfounded.CREDITOMINIC LORRIMER
Emails tabled in Parliament as part of an inquiry into the rail corporation – sparked by a Herald investigation – reveal Ms Berejiklian was “unequivocal [at the meeting] that TAHE will go ahead”, and that “everyone was well across the challenges but also imperative”.
Former KPMG partner Brendan Lyon told the inquiry on Monday that he was humiliated, bullied and discredited by a so-called “hit squad” that included Mr Pratt when he refused to change a report that warned of safety risks and that the state budget would be more than $10 billion worse off than Treasury claimed.
Labor’s treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey said the email in September last year detailing the meeting made it clear that Mr Perrottet was intimately involved in Treasury’s efforts to force Mr Lyon to change his report.
“Treasury secretary Mike Pratt’s presence at this meeting with Mr Perrottet [the treasurer at the time] and Premier Berejiklian ... shows that Treasury was winning the TAHE civil war inside the NSW government,” he said.
“Mr Perrottet’s explicit backing gave licence to the Treasury to continue their extraordinary campaign to force changes to Mr Lyon’s report.”
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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