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The ability of the Opposition to hold Labor Ministers accountable in areas of public safety and dodgy planning deals has been threatened by Labor’s Chairman of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC), Philip Dalidakis.

In a brazen threat, Mr Dalidakis warned the Deputy Chair of PAEC, Richard Riordan MP, that if the Opposition did not support Labor’s attempt to change the rules and allow PAEC to sit concurrently with the Legislative Council on Friday, then the ability of PAEC to scrutinise the Minister for Planning would be compromised.

He said to me words to the effect that, if the Opposition did not support the Government’s move and the rule change was debated, that “every minute lost will come from Planning. No questions on cladding and no question on the Corkman”.

This refers to current controversies about the safety of thousands of Victorian apartments with flammable, non-compliant cladding. It also refers to the highly controversial decision of the Minister for Planning to cut a deal with the dodgy developers who illegally knocked down the heritage-listed Corkman hotel in Carlton.

It is outrageous that Labor would seek to hold a gun to the head of Parliamentary processes by threatening to cut scrutiny of the Minister for Planning over such vital issues relating to public safety and planning integrity.

Mr Riordan has raised with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly whether Mr Dalidakis’ actions amount to a breach of Parliamentary privilege.

The Liberal Nationals will not be bullied or threatened by an increasingly arrogant and unaccountable Andrews Labor government. Labor’s desire to ram through legislation to destroy the volunteer-based CFA as we know it deserves proper scrutiny and community consultation.

We will not buckle to threats by Labor to sell out the CFA or turn a blind eye to important planning matters that involve the safety of thousands of Victorians.

Premier Daniel Andrews needs to ensure that PAEC will have every opportunity to properly scrutinise Labor Ministers and the 2019-20 budget as previously agreed.

Richard Riordan MP

Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional Victoria

Shadow Assistant Minister for Agriculture

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