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Gutwein's Dodgy Loan Approval

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Tags: Tassal, Water, Environment, Prosser Pipeline

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Water spokesperson

Treasurer Gutwein has refused to take responsibility for his lack of due diligence in approving a $4 million loan to Glamorgan Spring Bay Council for construction of the Twamley Dam. This is despite the cost blow-outs that show council can’t afford to finish the job and may not be able to cover their costs towards the dam and pipeline - primarily benefiting Tassal’s fish farm at Okehampton Bay.

The Treasurer approved the $4 million loan in 2017, before EPBC Act approvals needed to build the Twamley Dam had even been granted by the federal government. Those approvals still have not been issued, and the process has stalled.

The financial modelling underpinning this loan approval was never revealed to Glamorgan Spring Bay ratepayers or previous councillors, and the loan struck between Treasury and the previous Mayor and General Manager was widely criticised for being secretive and financially risky.

New Mayor, Debbie Wisby, stated yesterday her council’s borrowing capacity is very low, with no money spare to build a bridge or other critical infrastructure when needed.

Simple sums of expected loan repayments over coming decades show servicing this massive debt will place the council into a perilous debt trap. How the government thought it was responsible to loan them millions of dollars beggars belief.

The Treasurer signed-off public funding to support the interests of two private commercial operators, with a huge liability falling to Glamorgan Spring Bay ratepayers. It is hard to see this as anything other than gross misfeasance.

Peter Gutwein needs to reveal what due diligence he undertook prior to approving the loan, and what he will do now to ensure ratepayers are not left at serious financial risk.