Grassgate – Angus Taylor kept mum on personal financial interest
Energy Minister Angus Taylor did not declare his financial interest in a company at a meeting with senior environment officials and the office of the then environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, about endangered grasslands in 2017, according to Guardian Australia.
Angus Taylor has an interest in a family company linked to an investigation into alleged illegal land clearing. In 2017 officials from the federal environment department met with the office of then-environment minister Josh Frydenberg to discuss the grasslands’ listing as endangered, according to Guardian Australia.
The meetings were held while investigations were under way into the alleged poisoning of 30 hectares that contained the grassland on a NSW property owned by Jam Land Pty Ltd. Mr Taylor’s brother Richard is one of Jam Land’s directors, while their family investment company, Gufee, is a shareholder.
Shortly after Jam Land was investigated, Taylor asked for and received briefings from the federal environment department.
Through freedom of information requests Guardian Australia established that Frydenberg’s office made numerous requests for information about the listing, culminating in a briefing for Taylor in his parliament house office from senior bureaucrats.
After the briefing, Frydenberg’s office wanted advice about how difficult it would be to quietly scrap the protections for native grasslands (the answer was “very”). The minister then commissioned a review on the impact of threatened species protections, like the grassland listing, on agriculture (the review didn’t recommend scrapping the protections either).
Taylor told parliament he was asking for briefings about grasslands listing on behalf of his constituents in Hume, a seat to the north of the Monaro, which includes some areas of protected native grasses. He has also said he was approached by a concerned but unnamed farmer from Yass.
(Image courtesy of Alan Moir.)