17 March 2021
The NSW Upper House has again referred the Premier to the ICAC, over two more matters involving her former partner and Member for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire.
The Upper House voted 24 – 17 to refer the matter earlier this afternoon.
Labor’s motion, which was supported by the cross-bench, refers to the Premier’s involvement in two of Mr Maguire’s schemes – the first regarding funding for the Cobb Highway and the second regarding property developer Country Garden Australia’s purchase of 364 hectares of land in Cawdor, in the preferred corridor for the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital.
These matters have come to light since ICAC’s Inquiry into Maguire revealed the Premier’s relationship with him and her knowledge of his various business deals.
The first concerns a meeting Ms Berejiklian held with her then-partner Mr Maguire in 2016 about the upgrade of the Cobb Highway. The road is almost 100 kilometres away from his Wagga Wagga electorate, but runs past two investment properties in the town of Ivanhoe that Mr Maguire hoped to convert into short-term rental accommodation
The meeting occurred just a month after Mr Maguire bought the first of the properties, and funding for the Highway escalated significantly after Mr Maguire’s meeting with the Premier.
Ms Berejiklian never informed ICAC of any of this, even after Mr Maguire told her about his Airbnb plan and after Mr Maguire was disgraced at ICAC.
The Premier also has serious questions to answer about her failure to declare a conflict of interest when she chaired meetings about the route of the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital, and Daryl Maguire’s knowledge of confidential details about the road.
Country Garden bought land around the Western Sydney Airport and predicted the route of the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital before it was announced and while Mr Maguire was working as a secret advisor for Country Garden.
Public servants repeatedly questioned whether Mr Maguire had passed on this confidential information to Country Garden.
The Premier chaired meetings about the route of the M9, knowing that her then partner Mr Maguire was working with Country Garden, but she never declared a conflict of interest.
“It is clear that the Premier has serious questions to answer here. She twice had the opportunity to declare a conflict of interest into her then partner Mr Maguire’s shady deals and twice refused to do so” — Adam Searle MLC, Labor Leader in the Legislative Council
“Mr Maguire stood to profit from both the upgrade of the Cobb Highway and from knowledge of the M9’s route. He was the Premier’s partner at the time. Why in both instance did the Premier fail to declare a conflict of interest? Why did she fail to inform ICAC about either of these matters?
“These are very serious matters that require investigation by the ICAC.”
The Upper House previously referred the Premier to ICAC in November over matters relating to Mr Maguire and her involvement in the rorting of Government grants.