TAXPAYERS have shelled out $14,000 in legal fees in a failed attempt to slug an MP $2500 to view Perth Freight Link documents.
Perth federal Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan challenged the charge in the administrative appeals tribunal, and won.
“Rather than accept that information on a $1.76 billion project is clearly in the public interest and therefore should come free-of-charge, the government hired top-shelf law firm Clayton Utz to fight its flimsy case,” she said.
Clayton Utz is the firm that deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop managed before entering parliament.
The federal infrastructure and regional development department had argued Ms MacTiernan should be charged $2491 because the 88 documents she sought under Freedom of Information laws were “primarily of interest to [her] and not of general public interest”.
“Either the Turnbull Liberal Government is showing its fundamental misunderstanding of the revenue/expenditure equation, or it is illustrating the extraordinary lengths it will go to to conceal any information about the flawed Perth Freight Link,” she says.
“The contract for Section 1 – Roe 8 – could be signed within weeks yet the Barnett and Turnbull governments are still refusing to release the most basic justifications for the project, like traffic volume counts and modelling.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK