22 June 2023

Wagga prepares for release of ICAC report into Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire

| Chris Roe
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Daryl McGuire

ICAC will release its report into the conduct of Daryl McGuire and former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian next week. Photo: Supplied.

The long-awaited ICAC report into the conduct of former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and her relationship with disgraced Liberal MP Daryl Maguire will be released next week.

“The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will furnish its Operation Keppel investigation report, concerning the then member of Parliament for Wagga Wagga, the then premier, and others, to the Presiding Officers at the NSW Parliament on Thursday, 29 June 2023, at 9.00 am,” the commission declared in a short statement on Wednesday (21 June).

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It’s been two-and-a-half years since the revelations about Ms Berejiklian’s five-year relationship with the former Member for Wagga Wagga came to light. She subsequently resigned as NSW premier in October 2021.

Maguire had served as Wagga’s MP since 1999 before being forced to quit in 2018 after admitting to a corruption inquiry that he had sought commissions while brokering property deals with a Chinese developer.

During her 2021 appearance at ICAC, the former premier confirmed that their relationship had continued after Maguire’s exit from parliament. It was revealed that he had advised her on strategy to retain the seat for the Liberals ahead of the 2018 by-election.

“Just throw money at Wagga,” Maguire was heard saying on one of the tapped phone calls aired during the hearing.

“I’ll throw money at Wagga, lots of it, don’t you worry about that,” Ms Berejiklian replied.

When he complained that “bureaucrats” had stalled a stadium project, she said, “I can overrule them”.

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In another recording from 2018, Maguire complained about a lack of money for hospitals in his electorate and relayed a conversation he’d had with “Treasury”.

“I said, ‘You better f—ing make sure Wagga’s got money; otherwise, there’s gonna be a riot on your hands,” he said.

“I’ll deal with it. I’ll fix it,” Ms Berejiklian responded before calling back two hours later.

“I just spoke to Dom and I said put the 140 in the budget. He goes, ‘No worries.’ He just does what I ask him to.”

In the end, despite all the promised funding, the Wagga by-election was won by the current Independent Member, Dr Joe McGirr, who wrested the seat from the Liberal Party for the first time since 1957 in 2018. He was returned in 2019 and then again in March 2023.

The investigation examined whether Ms Berejiklian had breached the public trust through a conflict of interests and questioned whether the relationship had caused Wagga to unfairly benefit from taxpayer funds.

Of particular interest to the ICAC were two grants: $5.5 million for the Australian Clay Target Association’s convention centre and clubhouse and $30 million for the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in 2018.

“You’re still getting everything. We ticked off your conservatorium the other day. That’s a done deal now,” Berejiklian said during a 2017 call, confirming the promised grant to relocate the RCM.

The former premier has always maintained that there was no wrongdoing.

The findings will include both the corruption probes into Mr Maguire and Ms Berejiklian and will be available on the commission’s website from Thursday (29 June).

Original Article published by Chris Roe on Region Riverina.

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