NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet grilled by ABC 7:30s Leigh Sales
ABC host Leigh Sales put Dominic Perrottet through a grilling during his first appearance on 7:30 as NSW Premier.
Sales asked Mr Perrottet about a range of topics, from Covid-19 numbers and carbon emissions to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“I want to whip around a few things since this is your first interview on the program, starting with Covid case numbers,” she said.
Sales asked if the state government was still expecting a spike in infections in the near future.
“We certainly believe based on the advice we have received from (NSW Health) there will be naturally an increase in case numbers, and hospitalisations as mobility increases across the state,” Mr Perrottet said.
“But we think in terms of the success that we have had on the vaccination rate, it‘s been incredibly pleasing to see the efforts of so many people across our state going out and getting vaccinated. That’s really going to help us in relation to hospitalisations, and ICU presentations.”
Asked about his message to the federal government on reducing carbon emissions, Mr Perrottet said they should follow NSW’s lead.
“We made it very clear that we want to halve the emissions across our state by 2030, he said.
“Governments generally are slow when it comes to following with private sector investment is, but there is a real opportunity for our state and for our nation to lead the way.”
On the ICAC investigation into Gladys Berejiklian, Sales asked whether the former premier should have disclosed her relationship with ex-partner Daryl Macguire to colleagues sooner.
Mr Perrottet said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the investigation and added that he was unsure of the details.
“Sorry Premier, you’re the leader of the government though, and you would have standards that you expect from your ministers,” Sales said.
“If you had somebody on your team that was engaged in a relationship like that, would you expect it to be disclosed?”
“I’m not sure,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The (former) premier has made previous comments in relation to the fact she did not believe the relationship was of a sufficient standard that would meet the disclosure of interest requirements.
“But I obviously haven’t discussed the matter with the former premier because we’re not entitled to speak about those matters that are before the ICAC.”
Mr Perrottet was also asked if he intended to “clip the wings” of the ICAC, whose funding is subject to state government oversight and which will begin public hearings next week in an investigation into Ms Berejiklian.
“No, I mean, the integrity agency has an important role in ensuring corruption is out of public life,” Mr Perrottet said.
“So that doesn't mean from time to time reforms to every part of the government here in NSW shouldn’t be looked at. If there are ways we can strengthen independent oversight, in whatever area it is, that's a positive thing.”
The final question was about Icare, the country’s biggest workers’ compensation scheme, which was slammed over revelations of financial mismanagement and the underpayment of injured workers.
“As the state‘s finance minister you set up a workers compensation scheme called Icare and last year it was found to have lost more than $3 billion as well as cutting benefits to thousands of injured workers,” Sales said.
“You declined to be interviewed for a review into it. If that's an indication of your competence and preparedness to be accountable, how well does it bode for your role as premier?”
Mr Perrottet said the scheme’s implementation and ministerial oversight “absolutely” should have been better.
“There has been a number of recommendations as part of the statutory review which we will look at,” he said.
“Should a finance minister get involved with a public financial corporation? They are challenging questions. But do I believe the reform was the right thing to do. I stand by that. Could I have insured that implementation was better? Absolutely.”
Originally published as NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet grilled by ABC 7:30s Leigh Sales
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