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Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 11 November 2021

Tags: Corruption, Integrity, Integrity Commission

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, the minister would get hot under the collar because she knows that the reason Ms Johnston has brought forward this matter today is because there remain open, weeping sores, a lack of public confidence in the way this Government manages matters of its own interest; the interest of members of Government, and that is never properly investigated by the Integrity Commission.

It is a fact that our Integrity Commission does amazing work in a very specific range of areas. However, there have never been any public hearings about the matters that have been brought to them. There have never been any public hearings, which regularly occur in other states and are a very important pillar of public confidence in how government does its business. That is what is missing in Tasmania and how convenient it is not there.

It means that public confidence cannot be achieved because everything is secret; everything is silent. Not only does this Government routinely do everything possible to hide things in right to information, it even fails to release important reports in a timely manner unless it is required to do so because of public exposure through the media.

This has happened on multiple occasions. We have just talked today, and the minister has failed to answer the questions about why the full report, with the appropriately redacted information, about the inquiry into child sexual abuse in the Department of Education was not released to the public in the first instance, why it was only released when a right to information was asked for by the ABC was about to be delivered anyway. It was at that point the Government provided the information.

This is the latest in a string of examples. We have a history of the minister behind the original approval of the leasing of publicly owned land on Gellibrand Point, on South Arm, to a private company, a golf course owner who happened to be the brother of Matthew Groom, then minister for parks, who stepped aside from the Cabinet when the decision was made. But all the rest of the processes, it was made by his Cabinet colleagues, signed off on a deal with his brother, James Groom, to have access to that nature recreation area, which is a unique place of natural beauty. It is a place of significant Aboriginal importance and it is not the plaything for private proponents to make money, totally taking over the whole of Opossum Bay, that South Arm area, for a private golf course. We do not get to know the information.

What we have, six years later, is Liberal mate, Senator Jonno Duniam, signing off on the first $5 million of an $11 million amount to go to that proponent, South Arm Recycled Water Pipeline, to provide them with the water from Blackmans Bay, through a pipeline, to water the golf course.

There are so many questions that have not been answered and we will continue to follow this up at the federal level, as well as at the state level. Who pays? Who is paying for the reclassification of the water from Class B to Class A? Who is paying for the pipeline and all the other infrastructure? Most importantly, where will the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation assessment be for the spotted handfish, which has an very important place just off the side of the golf course, and will be affected by treated water? It will be affected by sediment run off.

We also have a history with this Government, so much stink around salmon farm expansion plans for the south of Storm Bay. When we had the two and only scientists on the marine farming review panel resign in protest. As they said in their own words, they are protesting at the failure of process - what they called corrupted processes for the marine farming review panel. There was no independent science for that. It was always going to be approved because it was a gift of public waterways to Huon Aquaculture, Tassal and Petuna - ASX listed companies - well, Huon was, it no longer is; it has been taken off, owned by JBS.

Bernacchi Lodge - Matthew Groom at it again when he was parks minister - handed over, re arranged the TWWHA, provided a new management plan that would enable him to excise a beautiful area of the wilderness area and call it a Visitor Recreation Area, I think, to enable the building of Bernacchi Lodge.

It also enabled the process for Halls Island to be excised from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and gifted in a perpetuity lease for a peppercorn to Daniel Hackett. We have first of all, Ian Johnston being gifted the South Coast Track to put a private development on, and now that has gone to Experience Co, an ASX-listed company which has also been gifted parts of Maria Island.

All this has happened so no wonder the community is asking who benefits? Why do we not know? Because of our weak donation laws. That is the problem. The Integrity Commission never investigates politicians and we cannot find out where the money goes.