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Premier’s Radio Performance Fuels Public Suspicion on Small Business Hardship Grants

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 29 October 2020

Tags: COVID-19, Small Business, Integrity, Transparency

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

Premier Peter Gutwein’s performance on ABC Statewide Mornings today was yet another reminder of the Liberals’ commitment to secrecy. 

The Gutwein Government’s continued refusal to release the details of where $26 million of taxpayer funds went through the Small Business Hardship Grants program is raising big questions in the community. This is, after all, the party that has received millions in secret political donations. 

While Tasmanians are grateful to Peter Gutwein for his handling of the coronavirus health crisis, that doesn’t excuse him and his government from scrutiny and accountability.

The information on the government’s Small Business Hardship Grants program was supposed to be publicly available. Not only is it being kept secret, those asking questions are being attacked by the Premier for doing so. 

Rather than reassuring Tasmanians he has nothing to hide, the Premier’s breathtakingly arrogant and aggressive radio interview will only fuel public suspicion. 

This looks like a cover up, sounds like a cover up, and smells like a cover up. Given the Liberals’ track record of dodginess and deceit, why would Tasmanians think it’s anything else?

This is a matter of real public interest. It goes directly to the faith Tasmanians can have in their government to administer public monies responsibly and transparently.

Peter Gutwein would do well to remember he is a servant of the Tasmanian people. He should respect them by being transparent and immediately release the details of exactly where this public money has gone. 

The Greens recognise Tasmanian business have suffered, and are suffering, and hardship grants are warranted. This public support, however, can’t come with secrecy.