More secrecy as Griffin Coal bailout continues to pay for operating losses

Shadow Treasurer Dr Steve Thomas has called on the Cook Labor Government to come clean about the continuing bailout of Griffin Coal following a statement in Parliament today.

Dr Thomas said the statement by Rita Saffioti reinforced the secrecy the Cook Labor Government is engaged in trying to cover up its embarrassing management of the State’s coal and energy sector.

“The Treasurer’s statement that the government is currently finalising a further funding assistance agreement with the receivers and managers of Griffin Coal is an admission the company will be propped up by the Cook Labor Government for years to come at a cost of millions of dollars to the WA taxpayer,” Dr Thomas said.

“And once again the Government has reverted to secrecy to hide its failure, telling us that it will “have discretion as to how much support to offer for the period of the State Agreement extension to June 2024.”

“We are back to the bad old days of WA Inc, with a Labor Government pouring public funds into a private business, but in this case that business is already in receivership.

“Following questions in Parliament, we know that they have handed over $23.2 million to the end of June, representing a $3.7 million or 20 per cent blow out in six months.

“Not only has the cost blown out past the original $19.5 million, but taxpayers money is now apparently being used to subsidise the losses of the foreign owned company on verge of insolvency.

“But such is its embarrassment, the Cook Labor Government is attempting to hide how long this taxpayer bailout of a foreign owned company in receivership will continue, and how much it will ultimately cost taxpayers.

“The Cook Labor Government appears intent on keeping the details as secret as possible.”

Dr Thomas said that during debate on the Griffin Coal State Agreement bill, the government acknowledged that the additional payments were simply covering the operating losses of the Griffin Coal Mining Company, which was still 100 per cent owned by Lanco Resources Australia Pty Ltd.

“Two months ago, I predicted that we had not seen the last of these payments,” Dr Thomas said.

“Griffin Coal continues to lose money and will have to be propped up by taxpayers for at least another year or two. We have returned to the dangerous precedent of a Labor Government throwing money at a private company in financial strife to save itself embarrassment.”