NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian showed “interest” in a proposed $5.5 million grant for a shooting association clubhouse and conference facility in former partner Daryl Maguire’s electorate, documents show.
But the premier insists she’s done nothing wrong.
Documents obtained by NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge show the Australian Clay Target Association sought grant funding for the clubhouse and conference facility in Wagga Wagga.
Its initial business case was knocked back but a revised version was in 2017 reconsidered, according to the documents, after Ms Berejiklian made inquiries on the matter.
It was subsequently approved.
Mr Maguire had initially in 2016 written to Ms Berejiklian about the project – at a time when the pair were in a secret relationship.
Ms Berejiklian was NSW treasurer at the time.
She thanked him for “bringing (the) request to the government’s attention” and referred him to the then-minister for sport, Stuart Ayres.
The project in 2017 failed a cost-benefit analysis, recording a score of 0.88 – lower than the minimum score of above 1.00.
It was reassessed later in 2017 after a new business case was put forward by consultants engaged by the Department of Industry, with more details on anticipated interstate and international visitors.
The documents suggest Ms Berejiklian – now premier – made a “request” to the department’s Investment Appraisal Unit to carry out that business case reassessment.
That second business case received a score of 1.10 over the 25-year assessment period, and was approved.
Another document – an email written by then-Regional NSW deputy secretary Gary Barnes – notes Ms Berejiklian’s “interest” in the project.
“If you want proof this $5.5 million grant was about politics not merit, then you can always check out the initial business case assessment. It showed the project was a no-go,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Ms Berejiklian denied all wrongdoing, saying processes were followed.
“The proposition you are putting is absolutely ridiculous and all proper processes were followed,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Monday.
Ms Berejiklian revealed to an Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing in October 2020 that she had been in a secret “close personal relationship” with Mr Maguire for five years.
Mr Maguire is accused of abusing his public office while serving as a NSW MP.
He has admitted being involved in a cash-for-visa scheme and that he was seeking secret commissions linked to questionable land deals.