Jobs for NSW

Legislative Council - 19 September 2019

The Hon. JOHN GRAHAM (13:19): I take note of answers given by the Minister for Finance and Small Business. I will not try to outdo the performance of my colleague who has drawn attention to the appalling state of the Jobs for NSW program. In the budget estimates hearing we did learn a bit about exactly where that program is up to. The Hon. Niall Blair was present for some of that. It is worse than my colleague has described to the House. The target for this program was 20,000 jobs. How many have been achieved? At the moment just 14,300 have been achieved—well short of the target. As a result, it is as my colleague described. The board has gone—it has been given the shepherd's hook. The CEO has gone—disappeared. All of these programs have been brought under the control of Treasury, and a good thing, too, given some of what the House has learnt about these programs.

We know Treasury's view about this. Its view about the way these programs were being run is that, essentially, the State of New South Wales was paying Qantas to land planes at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport. That is its view of the general approach that was being taken—paying companies to do things they would have done anyway. That is the view and I welcome the fact that these programs are now coming under more scrutiny. A lot of that scrutiny started with these two equity investments under the GO NSW Equity Fund—the surf investment and the turf investment—both of which were controversial and came undone. Both are now on hold pending this Treasury review. Over recent weeks we have learned that they are on hold. Those investments have not been sold down but I bet they will be over time. They should not have been made in the way that they were. They brought the whole Jobs for NSW fund undone as a result of the way this program was administered. We are now seeing the results of that activity.