Agriculture Minister David Littleproud’s comment that many of the 200 applicants for the Rural Investment Corporation (RIC) Board have “moved on” because of amendments made to the RIC Bill in the Senate is disappointing at best.
Littleproud was quoted in the Weekly Times today saying “Labor opposed the RIC and this delayed the RIC being passed by Parliament, which meant many of the almost 200 applicants for the board had moved on and could not be appointed.”
It’s a ridiculous statement to say applicants lost interest in the positions due to the strengthening of the Bill and this notion further undermines confidence in the RIC as an organisation.
Labor successfully bolstered the governance of the controversial RIC Bill. In fact the important amendments were embraced by Senator Mathias Cormann who congratulated Labor for adding additional accountability and transparency measures to the Bill.
This is something Littleproud should have been doing to the pork barrelled organisation which will cost $28 million dollars and will be established in Orange, a seat the state National Party lost last year having previously held for 69 years.
If he continues to make nonsensical statements like this farmers will lose all confidence in the Corporation.
Meanwhile the Minister’s Department continues to deny my FOI requests regarding the process for RIC Board appointments claiming the Department doesn’t have the time to do the work.
Who were these 200 applicants? Were offers made? What evidence is there they have ceased to pursue positions on the Board and for what reasons?
If Littleproud has nothing to hide he should respond to the requests for information and cease making ridiculous statements.