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Community Grants - Approval Process

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 2 March 2023

Tags: Integrity, Conflict of Interest


On 20 August 2021, well after the last state election, right-to-information documents confirm that a staff member in the then-premier's office, who is still there, wrote to Communities Tasmania to advise them, out of the blue, that the department had to provide funding for four new projects. We know none of these projects went through any proper merit-based process because, until that point, the department was unaware of them.

Of these four projects, one of them was the grant to the JackJumpers, which has been under intense scrutiny for a potential conflict of interest. A second was the Bracknell Hall, which we know is associated with a clear conflict of interest. Now we are wondering about the other two grants.

Can you give us a rock-solid guarantee that no Liberal MPs or senior staff were involved in either of these projects prior to funding being approved behind closed doors, without transparency or proper process?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. Muckraking once again. We are members of parliament who get out and about and do our job right throughout the terms of parliament - four-year terms, as it has traditionally been since 1998. Our team are very good in working around their local communities, visiting not for-profit organisations run by hard-working volunteers.

Ms O'CONNOR - Mr Speaker, Standing Order 45, relevance. This is a serious question. We have asked the Premier to give a rock-solid guarantee that no Liberal MPs or senior staff were involved in either of the two projects, the other grants, awarded funding without proper process.

Mr SPEAKER - I will remind the Premier of relevance, but the standing order does not allow you to repeat the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I thank the member for the second question, same question as it was. I expect all our MPs to be out there, particularly when it comes to volunteer organisations.

Ms O'Connor - What about your senior staff?

Mr ROCKLIFF - I do not mind you attacking staff, Ms O'Connor.

Ms O'Connor - I am not attacking staff. I am asking a question about whether staff were involved in extra funding grants.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Yes, you are. I would never attack your staff and you know that. You can also get out of the gutter, if you like.

Ms O'CONNOR - Mr Speaker, point of order, Standing Order 45, relevance. Could the Premier address the question about whether any Liberal MPs or senior staff were involved in those two other secretly awarded grants?

Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, the Premier is trying to answer the question and he is being constantly interjected on. Please allow the Premier to answer the question, in silence.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I do not understand why you do not support organisations that often require supports. They are often run by volunteers. They are hardworking people who volunteer their time to support their local community, like their local tennis club, bowls club, whatever it might be, out there working hard for their community. I would expect our MPs to visit those organisations, get out and about. Those conversations they have where they say, 'we could really value equipment' or whatever it might be 'to support our volunteers and support this organisation represent this community'. That is my expectation of our MPs. They are all doing it and I am proud of them all.