State Treasurer Rob Lucas revealed today that former Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis had splashed $2.7 million in the last nine months before the election out of a personally controlled ‘slush fund’.
“This was an unprecedented and outrageous pork barrelling exercise by Mr Koutsantonis with the vast bulk of the money going to support Labor MPs and candidates in Labor seats or seats Labor was trying to win,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“For example, Mr Koutsantonis gave four separate grants totalling almost $500,000 in a failed attempt to win the seat of Newland for Tom Kenyon. All four of these requests actually came from Mr Kenyon directly to Mr Koutsantonis.
“One of the largest individual grants was requested by Labor MP Nat Cook for $264,000 for a sporting organisation in her electorate.
“Groups associated with the Greek Community were also treated generously by Mr Koutsantonis as they received grants totalling almost $600,000.
“Whilst some of these projects and grants may have had merit, the secrecy and lack of transparency around the way the fund is expended undermines public confidence.
“There are absolutely no restrictions on payments out of this fund as the Treasurer is the sole decision maker.
“In fact, in last year’s Mid Year Budget Review Mr Koutsantonis secretly more than doubled the original budget for his slush fund in readiness for his massive pork barrelling exercise.
“SA families struggling to pay ever increasing bills such as the ESL and coping with cuts in critical services will be furious that Mr Koutsantonis was giving higher priority to the size of his personal slush fund.
“Mr Koutsantonis must now explain why he concealed the doubling of his slush fund in the MYBR and also why the vast majority was spent in priority seats for the Labor Party.”
“The Marshall Liberal Government will slash the Treasurer’s Contingency Fund to just $500,000 per year saving taxpayers nearly $2 million over the forward estimates. We will also report annually on payments made out of the fund.”