Nats de­fend R4R projects

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

The WA Na­tion­als have de­fended Roy­al­ties for Re­gions in­vest­ments in the Pil­bara and Gas­coyne as the State Gov­ern­ment pre­pares a probe into al­leged financial risk, se­crecy and lack of ben­e­fits of sev­eral ma­jor projects in the re­gion.

For­mer un­der-trea­surer John Lan­goulant will head the McGowan Gov­ern­ment’s Com­mis­sion of In­quiry into con­tracts and projects of the for­mer Lib­eral Na­tional Gov­ern­ment.

The in­quiry will probe 26 projects un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing in­vest­ment in Pil­bara ac­com­mo­da­tion, the Pil­bara Un­der­ground Power project, Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre, Bul­garra re­gional sports com­plex, Wanangkuru Sta­tion and Kar­ratha Health Cam­pus.

State Premier Mark McGowan said West Aus­tralians de­served to know how the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment had ac­cu­mu­lated a large Bud­get deficit.

“The Lib­er­als and Na­tion­als re­fused to an­swer sim­ple ques­tions about how tax­pay­ers’ money was be­ing spent,” he said.

“We need to get to the bot­tom of th­ese deals and the Com­mis­sion of In­quiry will an­swer th­ese ques­tions. It will bring a high level of scru­tiny, trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity to a se­ries of de­ci­sions and projects of the for­mer gov­ern­ment.”

North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia said if La­bor wanted to be crit­i­cal of the Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre, it should not put its name on the plaque when the cen­tre opens.

“It is La­bor’s job to dig up as much dirt as pos­si­ble to be able to kill off Roy­al­ties for Re­gions,” he said.

“I hope the com­mis­sioner can open (the Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre) for the peo­ple of Ex­mouth to have a look at it be­fore it of­fi­cially opens, so peo­ple can un­der­stand why a project of that mag­ni­tude has been built.

“I stand proudly as a Na­tion­als mem­ber next to ev­ery Roy­al­ties for Re­gions project de­liv­ered.”

Mr Cata­nia said Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan should con­sider hand­ing the rib­bon­cut­ting scis­sors to him­self on the cen­tre’s open­ing day, given she had been crit­i­cal of the project.

Trea­surer Ben Wy­att said Mr Lan­goulant’s ex­pe­ri­ence meant he was well placed to probe the in­tegrity of de­ci­sion­mak­ing pro­cesses. He will pro­duce a fi­nal re­port by Oc­to­ber.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Ex­mouth's Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre is a sig­na­ture Roy­al­ties for Re­gions project. The scheme’s ex­pen­di­ture is un­der re­view.

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