Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 9 June 2022) . . Page.. 1952 ..
MR BARR: My understanding is that it was more than just a media release. For those that would have applied but been told they were ineligible and then there was a subsequent reconsideration to invite them to apply, they would have been advised directly. The numbers are very small. I need to put this in context. Over all of the business support programs that assisted upwards of 12,000 businesses, the numbers we are talking about here will be a handful. I will take on notice the exact number in the time period that the question required.
MS LAWDER: Chief Minister, why did businesses have to reapply when the directorate already had all of their application details?
MR BARR: I will not take it on face value that the directorate did have all their application details, because there are still examples—and I am aware of them—of the directorate having to go to great lengths, on dozens of occasions, to contact certain businesses multiple times in order to get the information that was necessary. I have been dealing with the odd outstanding case months later because finally information came in that allowed us to make a payment.
It needs to be clear that more than 12,000 businesses received nearly half a billion dollars of assistance here.
Opposition members interjecting—
MR BARR: Of course you are not interested in talking about those ones.
MADAM SPEAKER: Members!
MR BARR: These specific cases have been dealt with on a case-by-case basis on the basis of providing information, because there have been many cases—too many cases—of fraud in this program, where we have had to say no to people who have tried to scam the system. You lot have been all about integrity this week, so do not be carrying on here about the government applying integrity to a grant assessment process.
Ms Lee: How many were fraud? It was the majority, was it?
MR BARR: No, but it was enough to be serious, Elizabeth.
Mulligans Flat—Wildbark Learning Centre
MR BRADDOCK: Minister, can you please provide an update on Mulligans Flat, and, in particular, the woodland learning centre that will be located in the suburb of Throsby?
MS VASSAROTTI: I thank the member for the question. We are very excited about the impending opening of Wildbark, which is the woodland learning centre. I think it was a little over 12 months ago that Minister Gentleman and I went to see early works at the centre and—while we have been dealing with the issues of COVID, COVID restrictions, construction shutdown and inclement weather—we are in the final stages of construction of the learning centre.