Thursday, 12 May 2016

Nationals doing what Nationals do best - claiming political credit for the work of others

The story so far…….

The Inverell Times, 6 May 2016:

SENATOR John Williams stood by his comments on social media on Thursday, which accused Independent candidate Tony Windsor of falsely claiming credit for the funding of Bindaree Beef’s bio-digester program.
“Tony Windsor claims credit for Bindaree Beef digester funding but it was Barnaby Joyce who actually got the funding!” Senator William’s post on Twitter read, and Wacka declared it as absolute fact……
Funding through the Gillard-Rudd governments for Bindaree’s bio-digester program was announced by Mr Windsor at the beginning of July 2013, after the pilot plant had operated successfully for six-months with better than expected results.
Speaking at Tony Windsor’s meeting in Flanders House at Inverell on Wednesday evening, Bindaree’s owner, John McDonald seemed in no doubt about the origins of the funding.
“I’d like to congratulate Tony for what he has done for Bindaree Beef,” he said.
“Julia Gillard, $23 million, just an incredible result that I couldn’t comprehend it.
“The problems we’ve got, we’re only a very, very small company, we’re fighting outside our boundaries. We’re competing with the biggest companies in the world and at this stage we’re struggling to get the Prime Minister to complete the project.”

Now Barnaby Joyce was a Senator for Queensland from July 2005 until August 2013 when he resigned from parliament, so it is highly unlikely that he was capable of securing that $23-million “discretionary” grant awarded to Bindaree Beef.

In fact, because Tony Windsor was the sitting Independent Member for New England at the time (and was part of the minority Rudd-Gillard Labor Government) it is more likely that he positively contributed to this particular grant coming Bindaree Beef’s way in July 2013.  

Indeed Tony Windsor is on the record in 2013 stating that he had lobbied then industry minister Greg Combet to get the grant and, that he had “worked with Bindaree for two years” to make the program happen.

In November 2013 Bindaree Beef began lobbying the Abbott Government for an additional $23 million grant.

By then the new Member for New England was Barnaby Joyce MP – having been elected to the House of Representatives at the September 2013 federal election.

The Abbott Government seems to have delayed paying the original $23 million grant dollars to Bindaree Beef for twelve months and, the request for an further $23 million was apparently reduced by the Liberal-Nationals government to $15 million in repayable co-finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.  

What appears to be the facts in this case is that the Gillard Government made an enforceable grant to Bindaree Beef in the last 66 days of Labor’s term in office which the Abbott Government eventually had to honour and, the politician who successfully lobbied on behalf of Bindaree in 2013 was Tony Windsor.

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