Australian government's Barrier Reef funding higher than requested
Canberra : The Australian government has awarded the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) funding worth 90 times more than what was requested, it was revealed on Friday.
Documents made public by Fairfax Media on Friday revealed that John Schubert, chairman of the GBRF, in April asked Josh Frydenberg, who was the Minister for Energy and Environment at the time, for a A$5 million ($3 million) funding grant, reports Xinhua news agency.
Frydenberg and Malcolm Turnbull, who was Prime Minister at the time, on April 29 announced that the GBRF had been awarded a A$444 million ($323 million) grant -- the largest allocation of federal money to the non-profit sector in Australian history.
The funding has come under intense scrutiny since May when it was revealed that the GBRF was not subjected to the standard tender process and only had six staff.
The decision is currently subject to a Senate inquiry.
Frydenberg, who was sworn-in as Treasurer in August following Turnbull's exit, on Friday defended his actions, disputing claims that the contribution did not go through standard process.
"The first thing to say is the Barrier Reef needs more funding," he told Macquarie Media radio.
"The foundation is the single largest charity for the reef in the country."
The Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has promised it will change laws so as to recover the unspent funding if it wins the upcoming general election.
Michael Myer, an initial financial supporter of the organization, in August described the grant as an "unthinkable" decision that was granted "without due diligence, without a proper tender process, without a request".