Deadline knocks for probe into Palaszczuk's right-hand man


LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has called on Annastacia Palaszczuk to publicly release the audit into how a company owned by her right-hand man received a $267,500 government grant.

August 30 is the deadline for the investigation by Ernst & Young into the taxpayer handout to the Premier's chief-of-staff and Fortress Capstone founding director David Barbagallo.

Ms Frecklington said it was in the public interest for Annastacia Palaszczuk to release the audit.

"The Premier must release the report because Queenslanders have a right to know why the Palaszczuk Labor Government wrote a six-figure cheque for David Barbagallo's business," she said.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk's leadership has failed miserably so far. She has 24 hours to be open and transparent with Queensland by showing what the investigation into her right-hand man uncovered.   

"Labor giving a business owned by David Barbagallo a cheque for $267,500 from the Queensland Treasury doesn't pass the pub test.

"Now Queenslanders have been slugged tens of thousands of dollars for an audit into a taxpayer-funded grant.

"The Premier's credibility has been rocked by this scandal and hiding the report would only add to the perception of corruption inside her government.

"Queenslanders deserve reassurance the Premier won't turn this into another Labor cover-up."

Fortress Capstone received the grant from the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund to support the growth of CruiseTraka – a social media app for cruise ship passengers.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has paused its assessment of allegations of corrupt conduct relating to the Premier's chief-of-staff until it receives the report from Ernst & Young.

"Asking Ernst & Young to investigate was completely inappropriate in the first place," she said.

"An Ernst & Young partner was on the expert panel for Advanced Queensland when the taxpayer-funded grant was awarded to a company owned by David Barbagallo.

"There's a clear conflict of interest because Ernst and Young was on the expert panel for Advance Queensland and is also the internal auditor for the Premier's department.

"We have always demanded that the independent Auditor-General investigate this issue because the review must be at arm's length from the Premier's office.

"The Premier has also failed to release the integrity advice sought by David Barbagallo on the grant.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk is already the weakest Premier in living memory and must publicly release the review into her chief-of-staff."

Business Political

Deb Frecklington : Leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP) of Queensland :
PO Box 940, Spring Hill Qld 4004, Queensland Wide
07 3844 0666
Deb Frecklington : Leader of the Liberal National Party (LNP) of Queensland
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