A damning report by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has criticized the former Morrison government’s $2 billion local health and hospitals program. The report unveiled that 45% of funded projects targeted marginal electorates, while highlighting serious administrative lapses and deliberate breaches of legal requirements by the Department of Health. Key senior public servants were identified as consciously deciding not to comply with financial laws on several occasions. Terms such as “congestion busting” were used internally to describe actions that bypassed regular protocols. The report also indicated that then-health minister, Greg Hunt, was not provided with precise legal advice, leading to progression of projects despite high-risk warnings. The Centre for Public Integrity, Australia’s leading anti-corruption think tank, stressed the urgency of reform. Dr. Catherine Williams, the Centre’s head researcher, expressed the need for departments to disclose information timely and transparently.
The above summary comes from The Canberra Times, was written by Sarah Basford Canales, and can be found here.