Qld Govt freezes funds until audit of group tied to Driscoll
A SUPREME Court Justice has refused to wind up a taxpayer-funded group tied to Queensland MP Scott Driscoll until it is clear whether the application will leave the troubled organisation's debts unpaid.
The Queensland Government has frozen funding to the Regional Community Association of Moreton Bay until an audit of the not-for-profit association is carried out.
As a result, RCAMB has descended into financial strife, with all staff stood down and the group's board at odds over how to fix the situation.
Lawyers for RCAMB applied in the Supreme Court on Wednesday to have the Redcliffe-based group wound up as the debt reaches more than $290,000.
The organisation, which provides homeless, mental health and community support, has been implicated in allegations that dumped LNP MP Scott Driscoll was secretly heading the group, which paid out $120,000 in consultancy fees to his wife's company.
Communities Minister Tracy Davis assigned the Pine Rivers Neighbourhood Centre to provide RCAMB's services last week after announcing the organisation was in financial trouble.
After reading affidavits filed to the court, Supreme Court Justice David Boddice said on Wednesday he was concerned that winding up RCAMB meant the State Government would not need to pay out its outstanding funds.
The group is supported through state and federal government funding, which has been frozen pending an audit.
Justice Boddice said he understood any government money payable would meet all debts outstanding.
But the court heard the issue would come down to whatever was included in the service agreement between RCAMB and the government.
The court also heard a board member had sworn in an affidavit the government told RCAMB it would not pay out any further funding until an audit was completed.
Justice Boddice asked counsel for RCAMB, Christopher Johnstone, what the urgency was behind the wind-up application.
"Because the employees have all been stood down, the doors closed and the association cannot provide services because it has no funds," Mr Johnstone responded.
"On my instructions from the board, if it were to be wound up then the programs it provides would be taken up by other organisations - that was the motivation of the urgency."
Justice Boddice said it appeared there was a split between board members over whether immediate action should be taken.
He said on the material before him he was not prepared to make a wind-up order.