Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

conflict of interest?....

gladysgladys

Gladys Berejiklian's own Treasury officials appear to have initially advised against setting aside $5.5 million for a grant pursued by Daryl Maguire, but the grant was later approved and came from a fund overseen by Ms Berejiklian, according to an internal government memo obtained by 7.30.

 Key points:
  • NSW Treasury appeared to not support approving a grant for the Australian Clay Target Association, an internal document shows 
  • The then-sports minister Stuart Ayres initially declined to support granting funding to the association
  • The grant was being pursued by former state MP Daryl Maguire

Last year 7.30 revealed that Ms Berejiklian oversaw a fund that set aside $5.5 million for the Australian Clay Target Association [ACTA] clubhouse and convention centre in Wagga Wagga when she was state treasurer.

Those revelations raised fresh questions about the Premier's role in facilitating grants in Mr Maguire's electorate, where he stood to gain a political benefit, and whether Ms Berejiklian ever declared a personal conflict of interest during the grant process.

After 7.30 first revealed details of the clay shooting grant in December last year, ICAC announced it was undertaking further investigation into Mr Maguire, who is currently the subject of an extensive probe into his business dealings.

Last month 7.30 also revealed that Ms Berejiklian intervened in the assessment of the $5.5 million grant and that Mr Maguire had written to Ms Berejiklian asking for her assistance to fund the project.

Since then the Premier has faced a number of questions at her daily press conferences about the ICAC investigation and whether she is a person of interest in the inquiry, which she has denied.

The circumstances of a December 2016 Expenditure Review Committee meeting where the funding was set aside — which Ms Berejiklian would have ordinarily chaired as treasurer — have become a source of intense political interest.

Legal experts have previously told 7.30 that if the Premier approved a funding reservation for the project at that meeting, it may amount to a conflict of interest.

The Premier has previously said her relationship with Mr Maguire was not of "sufficient status to" require disclosure.

7.30's questions about the grant last year sparked a flurry of internal government queries, with various government officials seeking to understand how the grant had been approved, after a submission was put forward by the Office of Sport while Stuart Ayres was sports minister.

 

Read more:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-13/berejiklians-officials-initially-advised-against-funds-for-grant/100457128

 

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