Nicholls says there's no conflict with Costello audit role

QUEENSLAND Treasurer Tim Nicholls has rejected claims a conflict of interest exists between Peter Costello's authorship of the state's finance audit and the private lobbying firm he chairs.

Fairfax media reported this week Mr Costello's role in the audit had been referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

It was suggested the audit, which recommends the privatisation of Queensland assets, stood to benefit Victorian based ECS advisory solutions, owned by Mr Costello and two of his former advisors.

Speaking in Queensland Parliament, Mr Nicholls said Mr Costello had been chosen for the job because of his qualifications.

He said Mr Costello had been the nation's longest serving federal Treasurer, was responsible for two upgrades to Australia's credit rating paid pack $96billion worth of Labor debt and steered Australia through the Asian Financial Crisis.

Queensland Attorney General Jared Bleijie told ABC he personally saw no conflict of interest and thought everyone was "jumping the gun" when the government had not made any decisions about outsourcing of government services and asset sales.

Greens senate candidate Adam Stone said the suggestion the Costello audit was "independent" was a joke.

He said the allegations of a conflict of interest were serious and "ought to be given due consideration by the Crime and Misconduct Commission".



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