The Andrews Labor Government’s irresponsibility with Victorian taxpayers’ money has been exposed after it refused to pursue a $2 million debt from environmental activists.
In February this year, former Minister for Agriculture Mary-Anne Thomas wrote to VicForests to discourage it from taking legal action to recover court costs from MyEnvironment activists.
At the time, Ms Thomas said no direction was given to VicForests. But after repeated attempts to block the public from seeing the letter, the government caved last week.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said the letter reveals Labor’s level of dishonesty.
“Mary-Anne Thomas has been caught out by her own words, and it shows just what the Andrews Labor Government is willing to do for their inner-city votes,” Mr Walsh said.
“Labor has put its own interests ahead of the Victorian taxpayer in a letter that contains false advice not to pursue the debt based on the government’s own guidelines.
“It’s behaviour symptomatic of the government and how they treat transparency.”
Mr Walsh said despite repeated attempts through the Freedom of Information Act to release the letter, it took the threat of VCAT to get the government to be honest with Victorians.
“The former minister said it was contrary to public interest – I believe refusing to recover $2 million of taxpayers’ money is definitely in the public interest,” Mr Walsh said.