“Angusgate”: Government blocks FOI requests

Angus Taylor
Angus Taylor

Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor is in the headlines again today after the government blocked the release of two emails relating to Minister Taylor’s incorrect figures that were used to criticise Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore over travel spending.

In October, Minister Taylor accused the Sydney Lord Mayor of “hollow virtue signalling” over emissions after the City of Sydney unveiled the biggest standalone renewables deal for an Australian council, valued at more than $60 million.

In a letter to Ms Moore that was reported by the Daily Telegraph, Minister Taylor criticised Moore for having a $15 million travel bill for the year 2017-2018, when the actual figure for all Sydney Council employees was $229,000.

When the Daily Telegraph was queried by Ms Moore over the figure, the Daily Telegraph referred to a document supplied by the Energy Minister’s office purporting that it was from the City of Sydney’s annual report.

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Minister Taylor’s office is yet to explain exactly how the figures came about, insisting the figures came from the report from the council’s website.

Now, the environment department has blocked access to two emails about the figures, claiming they are exempt from a freedom of information (FOI) request from Labor because they relate to an “ongoing process”.

Minister Taylor’s office has also blocked a request seeking the documents with the $15 million figure as there were too many documents that fall within the scope of this request.

The emails “comprise departmental input to a process that was not complete at the time the documents were created, and which remains incomplete at this time”, the first assistant secretary Helen Bennett’s decision said.

The controversy has led to the Twitter hashtag #AngusGate trending.