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Speaking of rorts…

Eleven days before the election last May, Scott Morrison announced $15 million to extend a program to build regional study centres in country towns.

The project, Country Universities Centres, was initially proposed by Duncan Taylor, the brother of the federal energy minister, Angus Taylor, when Duncan’s wife, NSW Nationals state upper house MP Bronwyn Taylor, was parliamentary secretary to John Barilaro, the Nationals state leader and deputy premier.

Despite a cost-benefit analysis showing the project would be unlikely to deliver a positive benefit to the state, the NSW government handed over $16 million – $8 million in 2017-18 and another $8 million in 2019.  The grants were awarded without tender.

Bronwyn Taylor has insisted she had nothing to do with the grants yet emails have revealed she was informed about it minutes after the decision was made which caused NSW Labor to ask the pertinent question in Senate estimates:

“You said you had no involvement but you were informed three weeks before the grant is announced. If you weren’t lobbying and engaging behind the scenes why were you told about it?”

The CUCs had previously received $5.1m funding in 2018 from the federal government, including $830,000 for a centre in Goulburn in the seat of Hume, the seat of Angus Taylor, whose wife, Louise Clegg, is on the board of the Goulburn CUC.

In New South Wales the centres have been largely located in seats that coincidentally are under pressure from minor parties, like the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, or independents.

The $15 million handed over during the federal election campaign was for five new centres, only one of which had been decided upon at the time.  It just so happened to be in the seat of Indi where the Coalition were trying to wrest the seat back from the independents.

Once again, we see Coalition governments using public money to shore up their political fortunes and, once again, the Taylor family are the recipients of government largesse.

In fact:

“From the time Angus Taylor entered parliament in September 2013, companies & organisations the Taylor family have managed, directed or are directly associated with have benefited from over $93,515,673 in federal & state government funds.”

It pays to have friends and relatives in high places.

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36 comments

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  1. Ken

    Another case of the pigs with their snouts in the trough

  2. John Boyd

    A question is on what was the money spent?.My partner uses the local CUC, which is fine, but it is not much more than a glorified internet cafe. It is hard to see serious money spent there.

  3. Harry Lime

    Shameless thieves and liars,all of them.It has been all downhill since the Lying Rodent,culminating in the farrago of corruption we have now, and led by the most intransigent liar of all.

  4. Kaye Lee

    The centres “provide a study space, internet and computer access and links to lecturers online”. Yup, expensive internet cafes just about sums it up.

    “But a lack of transparency about the criteria used for locating them, combined with links to serving politicians, raise questions about whether they are being used to pork barrel in seats that the Coalition wants to hold or win back.”

  5. Kronomex

    It’s the old Sergeant Schultz catchphrase, “I know nothing, nothing!” Just think, we still have another couple of years of the now openly blatant corruption and bastardry that is the LNP. Dog help us if they can find some way to declare martial law.

  6. New England Cocky

    Perhaps somebody could look up Barnyard’s alleged claims against the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme to determine whether he has exceeded this achievement by his “$80 MILLION empty glass of water” mate.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Interestingly, in the Goulburn CUC’s 2019 annual report, remembering that Louise Clegg is a director and the CEO is Duncan Taylor, they say “We welcome in December the first tranche of Federal Government funding, many thanks to our Federal member Angus Taylor, for all his help in this area.”

    That explains why the Fed’s latest $15 million hasn’t shown up yet. It doesn’t explain the conflict of interest.

  8. John Boyd

    Kaye…Thanks,..I had seen an earlier version which didn’t show the $8m. It seems certain that the Taylor family used its influence to push the grant. A big part of the problem is the lack of transparency. We don’t know the terms of the actual proposal to government, and what does the payment of $3.5m for ‘grants and donations’ entail? To whom are they granted?

  9. whatever

    Angus Taylor, like many of the current LNP frontbench, worked for an American “Takeover Merchant” company (McKinsey & Company).
    They plan these takeovers from the MARGINS, that is, they spend the least possible amount of money on certain stock and options that will eventually add-up to corporate control.
    Its just like how they took over the Government.

  10. Kaye Lee

    John, I think that is the main body handing out money to the various centres though I am not certain?

    The Goulburn centre reported $335,000 as “Revenue from government including grants” of which they spent $114,389 on Employee expenses.

    The 2016 cost-benefit analysis, which was done in a matter of days before Christmas by the industry department’s investment appraisal unit, found the project’s claims of benefit to the state due to increases in country students completing degrees were “unrealistic”.

    It said that completion rates would need to rise by 10.6% just to reach break even. But given the project was targeting part-time students whose completion rates were below 50%, this was “highly optimistic”.

    It concluded “that a cost benefit analysis using realistic student completion assumptions … is unlikely to find that the project would generate a positive net benefit to the state”.

    Highlighting the rushed nature of the project, the analysis noted it was done on “a preliminary basis with insufficient time to conduct a full and rigorous cost benefit analysis”. It said there had been much less testing of the information provided than was normal and there had not been time to conduct due diligence on the proposal.

    The documents also highlighted concerns the CUC proposal would duplicate Tafe. But this issue appears not to have been pursued in the face of the urgency to fund the program.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/23/nsw-funded-16m-project-run-by-mp-bronwyn-taylors-husband

  11. Ray Tinkler

    “Dog help us if they can find some way to declare martial law.” Oh, don’t worry Kronomex, that option will already have a plan in place to activate it, just needs the going to get tough enough and a circumstance outside the internal politics of the nation to use as an excuse, plus a compliant G.G. Can you think of anything in view at the moment that could trigger such a move? The shortage of toilet paper, perchance?

  12. Kaye Lee

    After the May federal election, the government decided to remove water staff from the agriculture department and put them under infrastructure. Then they changed their mind two days before the shift was to happen after $365,000 had already been spent.

    “The government decided not to disrupt delivery of the important range of programs and the policy advice in the water division by moving that function,” Agriculture Department deputy secretary Malcolm Thompson told a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Friday.

    https://www.9news.com.au/national/canned-water-department-shift-cost-365k/1e4c0e21-0328-4332-a6c5-25c55a7f5ff1

    So their first plan WAS to disrupt important programs?

    Oh that’s right – the auditor general is investigating water rorts too. Quick, man the shredder.

  13. Kronomex

    Yay! New LNP buzzwords for next week, “targeted, responsible and scaleable”.
    Oh, the thrill, the exitement, Scotty from Mareketing and Crony Co. Inc. must be wearing out their plastic raincoats with strategically cut holes for their fevered little hands to play…oops, getting a little carried away there…with all the new slogans they keep creating.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/06/cormann-rules-out-rudd-style-cash-splash-to-boost-australian-economy-as-coronavirus-bites

    Regarding the unemployed and other non-pension recipients and this “stimulus package” let me just say: remember a certain scene in History if the World, Part 1 in the Roman Senate and the quote they used? No need to add anything further.

  14. ajogrady

    Something that is flying under the radar with all these continual rorts and rip offs by the criminally corrupt L/NP is the pending privatisation of visas. The massive influx of immigration numbers, the highest in the OECD over many years, not only created the situation that kept Australia out of a recession but also now has this huge backlog of new Australian citizens seeking visas for family members at a cost of nearly $32,000 per visa that is not indefinite and has to be renewed regularly. Not a bad money earner for a private company. Another question is the government purposely running this area down for their mate to buy it. The tourist industry should be up in arms as the waiting time now for a simple tourist visa is over 64 days. There is something very dodgy going on in the Australian visas area.

  15. paul walter

    jogrady, the press and media are in collusion with or under the thumb of this big business government,

  16. wam

    What a read kaye. No wonder they can rort their arse off, support robodebt, punish welfare recipients and steal from the NDIS they have no conscience.
    How the fuck can labor call them colleagues?????

  17. ajogrady

    Paul Walter: The corporate MSM and the Tories are corrupt conspirators in not only stealing Australias common wealth but worst of all they have stolen our democracy and freedom. So many made the ultimate sacrifice to protect these fundentals of a free and open society in the belief that future generations would honour and respect their sacrifice as well as protect and nuture it. Australia is a country of gullible boiling frogs.

  18. Trevor

    Filth
    Absolute filth
    The IPA led Abbott Turdball MorriSCUM LNP Sovereign Government of Australia

    Pure unadultereated criminal Filth the LNP, are beyond the reach of Australian Law, and order by Sovereign decree.

  19. corvusboreus

    I blame Adam Bandt.

  20. corvusboreus

    Good on SHY sticking up for a wife slapper.
    Man shouldn’t have to peel his own spuds.

  21. Kaye Lee

    In the fortnight between 27 March and 11 April, the government announced 70 appointments to boards, statutory bodies and tribunals, and diplomatic postings. One in five people appointed to government bodies in that fortnight had links to the Liberal or National parties.

  22. corvusboreus

    Narrownose underpaid an au pair.

  23. johno

    I blame those latte sipping woke types for everything, and that includes the poo paper shortage.

  24. corvusboreus

    Meanwhile Fatso sees no evil.

  25. corvusboreus

    All’s bad, excepting not accepting even badder.
    Ah well, back to sleep.

  26. Ken Fabian

    We still do not know who, how or why the AFP pre-informed Minister Cash’s office of a raid on union offices. I still see no reason at all that they be informed of an active investigation and good reasons they should not. We do not know where Taylor’s proof “proof I tell you” that Sydney City Council is hypocritical on emissions came from. It is a simple question that ought to yield a simple answer – but only if the question is asked and an answer is actually required.

    We are unlikely to get better on any investigations that touch on anything dodgy that Morrison’s Ministers have done. Frankly my trust in the AFP to be non-partisan and fair has been seriously damaged.

    Given how close the election was it is becoming clear that pork barrelling may just have been the final straw that broke the ALP’s back. Well, without the coordinated support from major “News” organisations in denigrating Labor that – and several other elections – would almost certainly be different. Frankly, my trust in Australian journalism to be non-partisan and fair has been seriously damaged… err, damaged more.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Ken,

    I think, in the case of the ABC (and some others), it is actually an overabundance of trying to seem “fair”. Which means we constantly get inflicted with people from the creche for aging Young Liberals (the IPA). Wanting to present both sides means idiots like Malcolm Roberts get a run to talk absolute rubbish. Gerard Henderson gets dished up as some sort of analytical commentator and his son-in-law Warren Mundine is rolled out as an expert on (rorting) Indigenous Affairs.

    They also have to tread lightly to a degree or the politicians just refuse to be interviewed or take their questions at press conferences.

    But even with the Murdoch filter, the stench of the Morrison government is wafting through. He’s going to have to splash a lot of cash round to try to fix things but they are so crap at working out what needs doing, it won’t work. They aren’t even good at throwing money around and people are watching.

  28. whatever

    Even the very apolitical people I know go into a rage when Scotty appears on TV, now.

  29. Kaye Lee

    It’s the arrogance.

    Tourism Australia board members complained that “he did not heed advice, withheld important research data about the controversial campaign, was aggressive and intimidating, and ran the government agency as if it were a one-man show.”

    Nothing has changed.

  30. Peter F

    We have the media informed about AFP raids on those who oppose this government, never hear anything about raids on supporters of government, or ministers. OF course not, there are NO SUCH RAIDS.

    Simple.

  31. Martyn

    This article was removed from my fb feed. In their words it goes against community standards. Any one else had this done

  32. The AIM Network

    Hi Martyn,

    This happened to all our articles. Facebook have announced that it was due to a bug in their system, and are busy working on fixing it. Most of our articles have now been restored.

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