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The $80m water deal that has provided no water

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Conflicts of Interest | Liberal Party | QED | The Nationals
Liberal Party
National Party

The $80m water deal that has provided no water


In 2017, $80 million of taxpayers’ money was used to buy water licences from two Queensland properties owned by Eastern Australia Agriculture (EAA), a company Angus Taylor was once a director of. The government bought overland flows, which are only available in floods so it is yet to receive one drop of water

The deal was signed off by then-agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, even though it had previously been rejected twice. Taylor said he had never had a direct or indirect financial interest in EAA, or any associated company.

EAA’s parent company, Eastern Australia Irrigation, booked a $52 million profit on the sale. EAI is based in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. Taylor was also once a director of EAI.

Taylor has said he and his family did not benefit from the water sale, and that he ceased to be a director of the Caymans parent before becoming an MP. He has said he was not aware of the water purchase until it was announced.

The sale did not go to open tender. It has been referred to the auditor general.

Exhumed: evidence Barnaby Joyce whitewashed role in Watergate

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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