Media Alert: Auditor-General’s scathing report reveals a Government unable to keep its books in order
The NSW Auditor-General has today released the Financial Audit of the 2021 State Finances, slamming the accounting tricks used by the Government to prop up the budget bottom line. Extraordinarily, the Auditor-General has also accused the Government of withholding key financial information from the Audit Office, and questioned their commitment to accuracy and transparency in financial reporting.
The Greens are calling for the now Premier Dominic Perrottet to explain his role in this fiasco, given he was NSW Treasurer throughout the creation of the highly contentious Transport Asset Holding Corporation (TAHE). The Auditor General’s report is highly critical of Treasury’s treatment of TAHE, forcing a further $5.1 billion in future access fees to be paid as well as honest accounting for TAHE’s $20.3 billion asset write down.
Media Conference from 3:00pm Today, Wednesday 9 February
Who: Greens MP and Treasury Spokesperson Abigail Boyd, Greens MP and PAC Chair David Shoebridge
Where: Tree of Knowledge, Behind NSW Parliament
Why: To comment on the scathing Auditor General Report on NSW Finances
When: 3:00pm Today, Wednesday 9 February
Abigail Boyd, Greens NSW Treasury Spokesperson, said:
“This is an absolutely scathing report from the Auditor-General. It paints a picture of a Government in complete disarray, tripped over by their own hubris.
“They’ve handed up a shoebox of receipts to the Auditor-General that have failed to support their lofty budget claims. And the Auditor-General hasn’t held back in response. Her detailed report tells of $6.6bn worth of errors by agency staff, information hidden or withheld, and a dangerous over-reliance on external consultants.
“This audit report shows that when you build your budget on rocky foundations, plastering over the cracks with expensive consultant reports won’t make it any less shaky.
“This report also confirms what the Greens and Labor have been saying for months – the Government has messed up the accounting treatment of TAHE, and now we know it’s going to cost the public a whopping $5.2bn over the next 10 years to fix.
“The result of the NSW Government using these smoke-and-mirrors accounting tricks will be sky-rocketing transport fares, and schools and hospitals missing out on much-needed funding.”
David Shoebridge, Greens MP & Chair of the NSW Parliament’s Public Accountability Committee, said:
“The Audit Office has cut through the smoke and mirrors presented by NSW Treasury and delivered a ruthlessly clinical assessment of the Coalition’s budget mess.
“Only a government that has lost control of its finances could have presented the Audit Office with agency budgets that had $6.6 billion in outright errors in them.
“This shows why it is essential that tomorrow’s Public Accountability Committee hearing into TAHE proceed, and we put the Audit Office’s damning conclusions to Treasury and Transport officials.
“Just over a month ago the Premier and the now former Treasury Secretary was telling Parliament and the public that the concerns over TAHE’s finances were unfounded. Today we know that the concerns are worse than we could ever have suspected.
“Dominic Perrottet is literally the only one left standing from a series of financial scandals that have rocked the Coalition government and in which he played a central role as Treasurer.
“While a raft of other Ministers and senior public servants have been sacked or resigned Premier Perrottet is refusing to take responsibility for any of the billions lost in ICARE, hundreds of millions squandered in pork barrelling and now billions more burnt in the TAHE debacle,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: Alysha Hardy for Abigail Boyd 0477 071 987 David Shoebridge 0408 113 952