Corruption cost NSW Labor $90m

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Earlier this month, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommended criminal charges be brought against former Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald over their involvement in the Mount Penny and Doyles Creek mines.

It followed the largest corruption investigation in the state’s history.

Under questioning in budget estimates, Mr Baird said he had asked Treasury, and the Minerals and Resources Department, to look into the costs.

“You will be appalled at the numbers that have come out of that report,” he told the hearing on Thursday.

“I sort of sit here and shake my head. If the licences were not issued corruptly or negligently this state would be $90 million better off.”

Instead, he said the state got “absolutely nothing”.

“Those resources, our resources, the state’s resources, were effectively given away…

“We have seen $90 million given away by the former Labor government to their mates.”

Mr Baird said the $90 million estimate was a conservative figure as the licences were granted in boom times, and there had also been a delay of $50 million in ongoing royalties on an annual basis.

He said the ICAC hearings amounted to about $2 million.

“Whether it be seven new schools or 900 teachers, the state has been short changed…

The treasurer called on the opposition to apologise for allowing the corruption to happen on its watch and short changing the state.

“I can’t believe the size, I can’t believe the culture that allowed that to happen.”

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