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Monday, May 07, 2007

"Plausible" deniability in two states

The "I knew nothing" defence had a run last week in both Victoria and NSW, with both governments on the back foot about what they knew of important matters prior to election.

In Victoria the Water Minister told Parliament denied he had seen or been briefed before last year's election about a bleak assessment on the drought, prepared by Melbourne Water in November 2006. According to The Age the report painted a picture much worse than the Government had admitted at the time.

A Freedom of Information application for the briefing documents has been refused by Melbourne Water because release could lead to "confusion or unnecessary debate".

In NSW the Roads Minister announced the first back flip on campaign promises by ditching the planned widening of the Spit Bridge. Having initially said he only knew of a blow out in the cost after the election, he then conceded that the Roads and Traffic Authority had alerted him about this in December. In the lead up to the March election, the Labor Government made much of its plans to widen the Bridge.

The newly elected Liberal Member for Manly who opposed the plan lodged an FOI application for documents about the cost of the project months ago, but is still to get a reply.

Hardly the stuff likely to do much for trust and confidence in our politicians and government generally.

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