ACT News


Damning audit of troubled nursery 'so grave' it can't be released

THE ACT government has twice suppressed an audit of Yarralumla Nursery's financial and staffing problems.

In October, a Canberra Times investigation found years of alleged mismanagement and misuse of government property cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The nursery operation was overhauled after failing to make a profit for a number of years. Problems ranged from the destruction of more than 133,000 plants and trees worth $1.5 million last financial year, as well as nutrient-rich water, which feeds algal blooms, running into Lake Burley Griffin.

It was also found that only two of 28 heritage-listed glasshouses were in complete working order, with 18 closed for safety reasons.

Staff fraud prompted an inquiry, which uncovered six breaches of the Public Sector Management Act and led to the employee's dismissal.

Deputy director-general of the Territory and Municipal Services Directorate Sue Morrell said the report's findings were so grave that they would undermine the entire business if they were made public.

''The findings and recommendations of the report in their entirety address sensitive matters relating to the business operations of the nursery and its staff,'' Ms Morrell said.

She also denied a request for a redacted copy or a summary of the report. EWA KRETOWICZ