Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, said the State Government’s gift of $1m of taxpayer funds to a political donor raised serious questions.
“Did the State Government follow proper process awarding these taxpayer funds and give other organisations a chance including TAFE provider Drysdale Institute, or did it simply agree to hand over the taxpayer funds after a party donor came knocking,” Mr Wilkie asked.
The Tasmanian Hospitality Association/Australian Hotels Association donated about $270,000 to the Tasmanian Liberals ahead of the 2018 state election. The pro-pokies THA had its taxpayer funding more than tripled after the state election to $1.7m a year for four years.
“Is yesterday’s announcement of $1m to the THA and Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania for a training organisation on top of the $6.8m already promised to the THA?” Mr Wilkie asked. “That is an extraordinary return on an investment of $270,000. Any reasonable person might say it is corruption in that it may be lawful, but it is deep corruption of governance and proper process.
“Who can forget Steve Old boasting about using his contact book to ensure mainland workers could get to Tasmania during lockdown to help finish the Crowne Plaza, owned by another Liberal donor.”
“Moreover this is $1m that could be much better used elsewhere, for example as a top up to the paltry $4m announced yesterday for youth mental health.”
Mr Wilkie said it was time the State Government came good on its promise to make political donations more transparent in Tasmania. “Tasmania has the worst political donations laws in the country,” Mr Wilkie said. “What is the State Government trying to hide? Why is the Premier back-peddling from the promise of a more transparent system?”
Mr Wilkie supports the real-time disclosure of political donations. He does not accept donations from gambling, liquor or tobacco corporations and declares donations of more than $1,000 in real-time at supportandrewwilkie.com