Victorian claims plumb well of possible corruption
UPDATE - The Victorian Government has engaged a forensic investigations firm to look into the sources of the leaked information first published by The Age.
Comments are expected from the Victorian Water Minister, explaining links to allegations of “dodgy” water contract deals.
The Victorian Opposition has repeatedly called on Water Minister Peter Walsh to explain how much he knew about millions of dollars worth of consultancy contracts for a new governmental water agency.
Fairfax Media outlet The Age has reported that the state’s corruption watchdog is looking into claims that the Office of Living Victoria handed the contracts to former National Party advisers without advertising them anywhere else.
The Office of Living Victoria was set up to guide the state’s future use of water resources through better practice and policy.
The newspaper has published allegations that the Office of Living Victoria took $3 million out of the $50 million Living Victoria fund, which was set up to pay for council, school and community environmental projects.
The Age says the money was put in the Office of Living Victoria’s budget and used to pay invoices from consultants, and fit out a Lonsdale Street office with “purpose built” rooms. This was despite the nearby Environment Department building having ample room to house OLV.
Opposition spokesperson Martin Foley has said that Water Minister and a Nationals MP Peter Walsh cannot be allowed to remain silent.
“Peter Walsh needs to first explain to the Parliament today what he knew about these dodgy deals for mates and what he's going to do to clean it up,” he said.
“If he's not capable of cleaning it up then [Victorian Premier] Denis Napthine must act to protect Victoria's interests.”
Mr Walsh has so far made no public comment on the matter, though the weight of media encouragement is growing rapidly.