Sydney (Tribune International, Labor Release, 11 Feb 2021): NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has introduced legislation to ban the reckless destruction of Government documents.
The legislation follows revelations that important documents relating to a quarter of a billion dollar grants program were shredded in the Premier’s Office.
While introducing the legislation, Ms McKay said “I’m shocked we even have to introduce legislation preventing the destruction of Government documents.
“This is an important step to ensure trust and integrity in Government after too many scandals and cover-ups.
“This Government looks after their own but leaves the rest behind and this flagrant abuse must stop.”
An upper house inquiry into the misuse of government grants has already heard how this deliberate destruction of government records helped bury the tracks of a scheme where 95 per cent of the $250 million on offer went to Coalition seats in the lead-up to the 2019 election.
An independent investigation by the State Archives and Records Authority found the Premier’s office had broken the law by shredding the documents.
Separately, the Information and Privacy Commissioner referred the matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and recommended the creation of a new offence covering the reckless destruction of Government information.
Ms McKay today took up the Commissioner’s proposal in introducing the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment (Recklessly Destroying Government Records) Bill 2021.
This follows Question Time on Tuesday where the Premier three times refused a request by Ms McKay to appear before the upper house inquiry into the Government’s grants rorts.
“If the Premier has nothing to hide she should agree to appear,” Ms McKay said. “Gladys Berejiklian used public money for political gain and then claimed pork barrelling was just common political practice. It should not be. Communities across NSW missed out and then her staff destroyed the evidence to cover it all up. NSW deserves answers.”