'I will fix it': $170 million bombshell in Gladys Berejiklian trial

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A phone call has revealed former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian getting $170 million for her then boyfriend Daryl Maguire's pet projects.

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating how her relationship with the former Wagga Wagga MP impacted the way Ms Berejiklian dealt with projects he lobbied for, and what she knew about his alleged corrupt dealings.

On Friday, counsel assisting the commission Scott Robertson played an audio recording of Ms Berejiklian and Mr Maguire discussing the treasurer rejecting his request for funding for several projects including Wagga Wagga and Tumut Hospitals, which are located in the Wagga Wagga electoral district.

During the recorded phone call, which took place on May 16, 2018, ahead of the Wagga September by-election, Mr Maguire can be heard angrily complaining that the $170 million he requested for the hospitals had not been set aside.

A supplied screenshot shows former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian during an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearing in Sydney, Friday. Source: AAP Image/Supplied by the Independent Commission Against Corruption
"I will fix it," Gladys Berejiklian was heard saying in a recorded phone call played during the ICAC inquiry. Source: AAP Image/Supplied by the Independent Commission Against Corruption

“I will deal with it, I will fix it,” Ms Berejiklian can be heard saying.

Although the former premier confirmed it was her speaking during the call, she said she didn’t recall handling the issue.

But another phone call placed two hours later reveals her getting the funding Mr Maguire had asked for.

"I’ve already got you the Wagga hospital ... I just spoke to Dom (Perrottet), and I said just put the 140 in the budget. And he said no worries, he just does what I ask him to," she says in a 17 minute phone call to Mr Maguire played during the ICAC hearing. 

"It’s meant to be 170," he replies.

"Whatever it is, 170 … he’s putting it in whatever it is, ok?"

In another clip of a recorded phone call, the pair continued to discuss the hospital funding. 

"I can't believe they left Wagga hospital off the list," Mr Maguire says.

"I'll just fix that one, I can't fix everything else but I’ve got that one on for you," Ms Berejiklian responds.

In another extract of the same call, Ms Berejiklian tells her then secret boyfriend "we are giving Wagga more money than anyone else ever before."

Daryl Maguire arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearing in Sydney, Friday, October 16, 2020. Source: AAP
Daryl Maguire arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Source: AAP

"I just got you the 170 million and some of our members now think they need to get everything on their wish list….you can’t tell me you’ve been hard done by," she says.

"Anyway, you need to find at least 500,000 or 1 million to keep Tumut planning going," Mr Maguire can be heard saying later on in the call. 

"Can you text Brad? Cause I’ve now got you the 170 million in five minutes you can at least get a few hundred thousand from Brad, if you keep bothering him he will fix it. You can’t have me fight…you can’t have me fixing all the problems all the time," Ms Berejiklian responds. 

Ms Berejiklian denies any wrongdoing, saying she dealt with Mr Maguire the same way as any other MPs.

"All of my colleagues had equal access to me," she told ICAC.

"When parliament was sitting, they would drop into my office and push their projects. They would ring me, they would text me."

'My love circle': Berejiklian's awkward response to grilling

Earlier during the hearing, Ms Berejiklian was grilled over if she regarded Mr Maguire as "family", which she denied despite previously referring to him as a family member in a 2018 text message. 

"I regarded him as part of my love circle, part of people that I strongly cared for, but I wouldn't have put him in the same category as my parents or my sisters," she said.

She was repeatedly urged by Mr Robertson to answer yes or no to the question. 

"I'm sorry, I still don't understand your answers to my question. Did you regarded him as or is not part of your family?" Mr Robertson asked.

"Not in the sense that there was a significant declaration to be made. I had strong feelings for him," she responded.

"I just want to know whether you regarded Mr Maguire as part of your family or not as of April 2018?" Mr Robertson asked again.

"In the same category I would regard my best friends, that I would regard people who gave me emotional support, who made sure that I was taken care of," she said. 

The pair discussed the question for at least 10 minutes before coming to a resolution over the answer. 

Mr Robertson asked the former premier why she disclosed other relationships and friendships except this one. 

"I'm still trying to understand how you draw a distinction between making declarations in relation to people who you know - there's one declaration for example, where you said I know this person because of attendance at functions - but not in respect of someone who ... you loved," he said.

Even in hindsight, Ms Berejiklian said she would not disclose her relationship with Mr Maguire.

"I didn't feel it was of sufficient standing," she said. 

With AAP

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