A new independent report into the former Liberal Government’s Office of Living Victoria has found that $3.6 million of taxpayers’ money remains unaccounted for.
The report, conducted by former Auditor General Mr Des Pearson AO, focused on the Living Victoria Fund, the processes used for awarding grants, and the management of contracts and whether they achieved their stated outcomes.
It confirms that the Office of Living Victoria (OLV) was riddled with such mismanagement and bad governance it could not explain what happened to millions of dollars allocated to water management projects.
The report’s key findings include that:
- Poor record keeping meant that $3.6 million is unaccounted for;
- Final outcomes for one third of all projects could not be established;
- There was no clarity around deliverables of projects and poor record keeping;
- Invoice after invoice was paid for promotional tools and materials with no accounting for how it was used
- At no stage did OLV engage with the water sector.
The Andrews Labor Government fulfilled its election commitment by immediately shutting down OLV and will now seek advice regarding the grants that are in question.
The Labor Government is now working together with the water sector to develop a plan which protects our water supplies and recognises the need to support farmers, industry, the environment and our local communities.
Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville
“The Office of Living Victoria has been exposed as a scandal-plagued mess, with multi-million dollars’ worth of projects unaccounted for and record keeping that resembles a shop selling knockoffs.”
“The previous Government treated Victorians with contempt when it came to managing their money, with Nationals Leader Peter Walsh unable to explain where $3.6 million of taxpayers money went.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is picking up the pieces. We’ve shut this agency down and we’re working with the sector to ensure our state has a water plan for the future.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020