NSW Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro ignored concerns from an unidentified public official that a $ 50,000 grant to an agricultural cooperative associated with Federal Congressman Angus Taylor’s family could be improper.
On Thursday, in question time, Labor MP Yasmin Catley asked Barilaro: “Dead set, vice premier, is this a grant or a bribe?” referring to what the civil servant concerned had written in a note to the file.
The note, an unusual passage for a public official, emerged through a call for papers from the NSW upper house on grants made to Monaro Farming Systems (MFS), which provides advice and research to Monaro farmers. You The guardian revealed it on Thursday
Angus’ brother Richard Taylor founded MFS and chaired it until 2019.
MFS has received over $ 800,000 in state and federal grants since 2015. But by 2019, these had run out and was seeking funds from the NSW government to continue paying a part-time coordinator.
“I am concerned about the nature of this arrangement,” the bureaucrat wrote after being told to make it look like a contractual payment for services, rather than a grant.
“I’m worried about the ethics of this. Is it preferred? Is it corruption? This doesn’t suit me. would I be an accomplice? I need to argue, “they wrote.
Another email sent by the Deputy Director General of the Department of Primary Industries, Kate Lorimer-Ward, in January of this year, recorded that the grant was specifically directed by Barilaro.
“We were directed by the vice premier to provide them (MFS) with $ 50K to provide outreach services and support industry adoption,” he wrote.
But Barilaro told parliament that “sadly” he was unable to target spending in the Department of Primary Industries and that questions about the concession should be put to Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall.
“A file note written by an unidentified bureaucrat does not reflect government processes,” he said.
He said he will continue to fight for funding for his electorate.