Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Canberra Liberals show the Minister for Education first became aware of potential issues with procurement processes within her directorate well before the Auditor-General’s scathing report on the Campbell Primary School Modernisation Project was released.
The documents show the Minister was briefed about potential issues with the procurement and made aware of the audit in May 2021, despite claiming in Annual Reports Hearings and again in Question Time she had no knowledge until the report was released by the Auditor General in December 2021.
Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee said what these documents show is that the Minister is either deliberately hiding the truth or incompetent.
“It is astounding that the minister has continually stated she had no knowledge of issues with procurements within her directorate until the Auditor-General’s report was released in December,” Ms Lee said.
“Even after the scathing report was released by the Auditor-General that says the procurement process lacked probity, the Minister still does not think there was anything wrong with the Campbell Primary procurement process.
“What we see again is a culture of secrecy within the ACT Labor-Greens Government hoping to sweep it all under the carpet.”
The documents also show the Education Directorate refused a Freedom of Information request to release information regarding the Campbell Primary School procurement which was later overturned by the ACT Ombudsman.
“The Chief Minister and his cabinet are responsible for creating this culture and it has to stop.
“All Canberrans deserve to know how and why this Labor-Greens government makes decisions when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money.
“Safeguarding the public interest is critical and is a core duty of any government that has the privilege of making decisions that impact our city, our future, and our people.
“It is absolutely clear that Canberrans did not get the accountability, transparency or objectivity they should expect from government procurement decisions in this case, and it raises the question, how many other procurements have there been like the Campbell Primary School project,” Ms Lee concluded.