An investigation into the Andrews Government’s awarding of gambling grants has taken too long to get off the ground after questions were first raised at anti-corruption hearings in mid-October.
Shocking revelations at Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) hearings on October 19 alleged Labor operatives siphoned money from a grant paid to the Somali Australian Council of Victoria by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation for personal benefit and to potentially branch stack for the Victorian Labor Party.
Despite warranting immediate action by Labor’s Gaming and Liquor Minister Melissa Horne, reports now confirm it took weeks for the Minister to finally ask for an independent review.
Shadow Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Steph Ryan immediately called for an independent audit, but the Minister initially refused to act.
“The integrity of responsible gambling projects in Victoria is in tatters under the Andrews Labor Government, but instead of taking the opportunity to restore some confidence, the Minister has sat on her hands,” Ms Ryan said.
“It’s shocking that it’s taken exploding internal warfare within the Labor Party for the Minister to finally act.
“Is this move about getting to the truth of whether these grants were above board or is it just another politically-motivated factional Labor hit?
“While the Andrews Labor Government remains distracted with its factional navel-gazing, Victoria is missing opportunities to recover and rebuild from the devastation of the pandemic.”
Grants awarded by former Ministers who were forced to resign amid the Labor Party’s branch-stacking scandal, will be a focus of the investigation into the grant schemes.
Steph Ryan MP
Shadow Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation