NSW Treasurer Matt Kean has unashamedly boasted of being Australia’s “greatest environment minister” – in history!
This is according to his NSW Liberal Party colleague Catherine Cusack. After his stunning 2020 claim, Ms Cusack said she had waited for Mr Kean’s tone to shift “but he was being serious”.
Mr Kean, the leader of NSW’s radical Left faction, was appointed by Premier Dominic Perrottet as the State’s Treasurer in 2021, however, retained his existing environment and energy portfolios at the time.
He has more recently relinquished his environment role to factional acolyte James Griffin.
Ms Cusack has announced she would quit parliament in response to the Liberal government’s mishandling of environmental issues – particularly its 2021/22 flood response.
In a reveal-all that threw up few surprises to Liberal Party insiders, the departing MP also told of how Mr Kean had moved to undermine his government’s [then] deputy premier, of dealing out jobs to win political support and his mishandling of his divisive koala legislation.
In a report in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper last week, Ms Cusack said Mr Kean had asked her to “condemn then Deputy Premier John Barilaro to the media”.
“Matt Kean contacted me and asked: ‘Have you thought about going out and slamming the Nats on this koala thing?’. I replied: ‘Sure, if that’s what people want’,” Ms Cusack said.
“He phoned me and assured me that was what [then] Premier Gladys Berejiklian wanted.”
She said Mr Kean had also asked what job she wanted in exchange for her vote.
“He asked what I was offered in exchange for the vote and I said ‘nothing’ and he said: ‘Well, no wonder you won’t vote for it. What do you want?’. “And I said: ‘You can’t do deals on koalas’ and he said: ‘Catherine, how else do decisions get made?’,” Ms Cusack revealed.
The NSW upper house MP also described Mr Kean’s so-called koala protection legislation a sham and a “stain”.
She said the proposed legislation being put to parliament was dramatically different to what had been agreed in the Coalition cabinet room.
Media reports at the time revealed the government’s proposed koala legislation would bury NSW farmers in more “green” tape.
“It was clear that [National MP] Adam Marshall had changed the bill from what was approved in cabinet and it should not have even been in parliament,” Ms Cusack said.
“I said: ‘Matt, this bill is a stain on your reputation as environment minister’ and he was angry and said: ‘That’s rubbish. I’m one of the greatest, probably the greatest environment minister in Australian history.
“I was stunned and thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. He started talking about his energy bill,” Ms Cusack said.
“I said: ‘What about koalas?’ and he said: ‘I know nothing about that, that’s all Rob Stokes’. This was the minister who, six weeks earlier, had been completely winding me up to go into the media attacking the deputy premier.” PC