Sunday, 20 November 2016


The federal Department of Education has been ordered to hand over documents relating to a controversial $2 million government grant awarded to a trades training school linked to former Family First senator Bob Day as the Auditor-General weighs up whether to launch a full investigation.

The department handed over dozens of documents relating to the grant last week after the order came down from Auditor-General Grant Hehir earlier this month, Fairfax Media can reveal.

Mr Hehir is assessing the documents and will meet with senior departmental officials this week before deciding if the episode warrants more scrutiny, sources close to the matter say.

The shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has asked Mr Hehir for an investigation after Fairfax Media revealed the government gave the $1.84 million grant to the North East Vocational College in Adelaide after Mr Day lobbied a number of ministers for the cash to fund his pet "student builders" project.

Mr Dreyfus says the grant does not appear to represent good value for money and cannot be justified on its own merits.( Now there's an understatement!)

He wants Mr Hehir to scrutinise what role Education Minister Simon Birmingham and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull played in the decision

The department said it was aware Mr Hehir was considering a review of the Apprenticeships Alternative Delivery Pilots and it was "co-operating in the usual way" while they made their decision.

All the grants were made "in accordance with the program's grant guidelines", a spokeswoman said.

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