The world 'deserves the truth' behind PwC scandal

Kat WongAAP
PwC Australia is being urged to fully disclose who within the company was involved in the breaches. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)
Camera IconPwC Australia is being urged to fully disclose who within the company was involved in the breaches. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

People have a right to know which PwC consultants leaked confidential government information to help the firm’s clients dodge taxes, a Labor senator says.

Former PwC Tax partner Peter-John Collins was at the centre of the revelations when they came to light in January 2023.

In July of that year, eight partners including the firm’s then-CEO were named and let go for professional or governance breaches.

A senate committee report on Wednesday has urged the consulting giant to name all the partners and personnel involved in the tax leak scandal, which risked $180 million per year of taxes.

Committee member Deborah O’Neill said those engaged in government contracts should provide value for taxpayer dollars.

“There hasn’t been any accountability,” the Labor senator told ABC Radio on Thursday.

“Trying to rip off your own fellow Australians, it’s extraordinary what PwC and Peter-John Collins have attempted to do.

“This is no place for you to come in and land your business, expand your reach, and just grossly draw profit and provide what we’ve know have been incredibly questionable services.”

Senator O’Neill said PwC’s new CEO, Kevin Burrowes, had been asked to provide this information to the committee, but claimed the names were protected under legal, professional privilege and that the relevant document was in London with PwC’s international holding entity.

The committee has also asked the UK’s Financial Reporting Council for assistance.

“What happened in Australia didn’t stop at our borders,” Senator O’Neill said.

“(Mr Collins) didn’t do it on his own here, and he involved an international network of this multi-national conglomerate that is PwC.

“We deserve the truth, but internationally other countries also deserve to know who it is that’s floating around in this ecosystem.”

The committee made 11 other recommendations to address broader integrity issues in the consulting industry by suggesting the Department of Finance improve training for officials who undertake procurements, review guidance on conflicts of interest and develop a register for these breaches.

The Greens have urged the government to go further and ban companies from making political donations a year before applying for a government tender, a year after it is completed and during that application process.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the federal government was working through the report and had already wound down the use of contractors in the public service.

“We’ve got to make the system much better, much tighter. We’ve done a heap of work on that front, but we acknowledge that there’s more to do as well,” he told ABC News.

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