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Australia Health Minister Yvette D'Ath says she stored her furniture on the same site as vaccine hub

03:11  02 december  2022
03:11  02 december  2022 Source:   msn.com

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The Newcombe family operate car dealerships under the name Village Motors and other businesses in Ms D'Ath's Redcliffe electorate, north of Brisbane.  (ABC News: Curtis Rodda) © Provided by ABC News (AU) The Newcombe family operate car dealerships under the name Village Motors and other businesses in Ms D'Ath's Redcliffe electorate, north of Brisbane.  (ABC News: Curtis Rodda)

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath has confirmed she was gifted facilities to store her personal furniture in the same privately-owned complex where her department was leasing a vaccine hub.

The free storage was provided by the complex's owner, whose company was being paid by Ms D'Ath's department to host the vaccine clinic.

Ms D'Ath made the admission in parliament yesterday in response to questions from the opposition.

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The questions followed an ABC story revealing details of her department's deal to lease the site at Kippa-Ring between May last year and April this year.

Previously Ms D'Ath had declared the "gift" of storage on her register of interests with the statement: "Temporary use of storage space – Marlene Newcombe."

The declaration, made in September last year, did not state where the storage was located or for what time frame.

This week the ABC revealed that at the time of the declaration, Ms D'Ath's department was paying Ms Newcombe's company, Colbury Pty Ltd, thousands of dollars a week to lease the site. The ABC does not suggest any wrongdoing by Ms Newcombe in relation to the vaccine clinic or providing storage to the minister.

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The ABC had asked Ms D'Ath if the storage was in the same complex as where the vaccination clinic lease was based, and whether the gift gave rise to a perceived conflict of interest.

Ms D'ath did not say where the furniture was stored.

But she did stress that she had no involvement of any sort in her department's decision to locate the vaccine clinic on the Colbury property.

In parliament on Wednesday Ms D'Ath criticised the ABC's reporting, describing it as "smear and innuendo" and "ambulance chasing".

Asked in parliament on Thursday if she could categorically deny storing her furniture on the site, Ms D'Ath said: "It was personal storage space."

She went on to say: "I'm more than happy to state it was on the same site where there was personal storage made available that was not part of the (health department's) lease arrangement.

"Their [the opposition] question inferred that it was being paid by taxpayers, so it's completely inaccurate that statement."

Health Minister Yvette D'Ath says she stored her furniture on the same site as vaccine hub

  Health Minister Yvette D'Ath says she stored her furniture on the same site as vaccine hub Health Minister Yvette D'Ath confirms she was gifted facilities to store her personal furniture in the same privately-owned complex where her department was leasing a vaccine hub. The free storage was provided by the complex's owner, whose company was being paid by Ms D'Ath's department to host the vaccine clinic.Ms D'Ath made the admission in parliament yesterday in response to questions from the opposition.The questions followed an ABC story revealing details of her department's deal to lease the site at Kippa-Ring between May last year and April this year.

The admission came as the data posted on the state government's open data portal, used by the ABC to confirm details of the vaccine clinic lease deal, appeared to be removed from the site.

The data revealed detailed lease payments made by Queensland Health's Metro North division to entities that had vaccine clinic sites including Colbury.

The data, which related to the financial year of 2021 to 2022, stated that Metro North had paid a total of $419,000 to Colbury in a series of monthly payments starting with three in one day in August last year.

Asked about the removal of the data on Wednesday, Queensland Health said it was "not aware of any open data information being amended or taken offline".

After being asked again about the change to the data portal on Thursday, a Queensland Health spokesperson said the "inquiry was being worked on and a response would be provided tomorrow (December 2)".

Ms D'Ath has previously told the ABC she had not been aware that the Kippa-Ring site was to be a vaccination clinic until it was established.

She said the decision was not a ministerial decision and she had not made or received any representations from the department about the matter.

Queensland Health's director-general Shaun Drummond issued a statement on Wednesday saying that he could "categorically confirm all appropriate processes were followed with the selection of the site" and the minister had no involvement in the process.

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