A pack of political foes have teamed up to launch two parliamentary probes that have the scope to expose the NSW government's secretive stadiums plan, with one likely to be deputy-chaired by a disgruntled Liberal MP.
The two “super-committees,” introduced to the upper house by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, with the support of Labor and the crossbench, will investigate capital works projects and state finances.
The government’s polarising $2.7 billion stadiums policy will likely fall into the sights of the capital works committee, marking another hurdle for Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s implementation of the project.
Liberal MP Matthew Mason-Cox, who earlier this year criticised his government’s stadiums policy saying it was difficult to justify the price tag, could deputy-chair the Public Accountability Committee, according to the notice of motion presented to parliament.
Ms Berejiklian wants to knock down and rebuild both Allianz and ANZ stadiums, plus redevelop Parramatta Stadium.
The accountability committee will examine the government’s financial reports, as well as any reports of the Auditor-General laid before the legislative council.
“The committee will uncover where the money from the government is going and who it’s going to,” a Shooters source said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile the second, a public works committee, has the scope to investigate the controversial WestConnex and light rail projects.
The Shooters’ committees, which have the support of Labor, the Greens and the independent Reverend Fred Nile, will be voted upon on Thursday, it is understood.
The committees will be made up of three government members, two crossbenchers and two opposition members.
Reverend Nile will chair the Public Accountability Committee, while Shooters MP Robert Brown will chair the Public Works Committee.
Mr Brown said his committee, which he tipped to be “nasty,” would likely examine the government’s stadium policy, as well as WestConnex and other major projects.
“It can be examined in enough depth to be able to get to the bottom of some of the questions that we can’t seem to get the government to answer,” Mr Brown told reporters.
Reverend Nile said he expected the committees to hold the government to account on its stadiums policy.
“We’re going to fill that gap and make sure the government is accountable for its major projects and to answer the questions that the public are asking, not just us, particularly the stadium issue and others.
Labor’s Adam Searle said while the combination of crossbenchers and Labor was not unprecedented, it was “quite rare”.
“I think that shows the importance of what’s happening in the community, particularly around the stadiums issue, there is a great sense that it is a misallocation of priorities” Mr Searle said.
Earlier on Wednesday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian brushed off concerns about the committee, saying the parliament already had the power to investigate such projects.
“We welcome that scrutiny because we’re absolutely committed to taking NSW forward and making sure our citizens have the infrastructure they need in the future,” Ms Berejiklian said.