Roban apologises for delays in $15m cost-of-living support
A minister has apologised for delays in delivering the Government’s much trumpeted $15 million package aimed at easing the impact of rises in the cost of living.
Walter Roban, the home affairs minister and Deputy Premier, became the latest Cabinet member to say sorry over the slow rollout of financial support announced in July.
His comments come after David Burt said five months ago that a $500,000 scheme to distribute LED bulbs to lower energy bills would be launched.
Mr Roban said delays were due to “rigid” government spending regulations.
The minister said at a press conference: “That paper will be in Cabinet shortly to approve the money that has been actually allocated to spend.
“Anything above a certain amount has to be approved by the Cabinet.
“I would apologise for any delay that we, unfortunately, have sometimes in delivering initiatives.
“It is not because we are not trying to deliver. The Government has a very rigid process on procurement.
“This particular initiative had to go through a proper procurement process with finding quotes and then having those quotes evaluated so that we could come up with a reasonable price for the purchase of those bulbs.
“That process has been what has been transpiring and once it is properly concluded we will make the appropriate spending so that we can pass out the bulbs to assist our people.
“But we have to do it right. We are not going to rush and do it in a way that’s reckless and doesn’t bring proper value to the taxpayers’ dollar.”
The comments came after the Premier said last month that delays in delivering the cost of living relief programme did not amount to a “shambles”.
Referring to the LED initiative, and delays in getting the one-off $150 ‘back to school’ payment for public school students to parents, Mr Burt said: “I don’t know if I’ll agree it’s been a bit of a shambles.
“I would say that during the pandemic we got criticism from the Auditor-General’s office for ignoring financial instructions.
“If I waived that process and went directly, I would get the same criticism that we got previously, so I accept that.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, has previously apologised to parents for the time lag in getting the school payments processed.