Stoush over Tasmanian virus grants

Ethan James
·1-min read

Tasmania's premier has doubled down on a decision not to publicly name small businesses that received $26 million in taxpayer-funded coronavirus grants.

A parliamentary committee examining the state's COVID-19 response has urged the Liberal government to release details of the 3000 companies given up to $15,000 support in the interest of transparency.

Premier Peter Gutwein has previously refused, citing concerns for the recipients' mental health if the information is released.

"Our position is firm, we don't believe they should be made public," he reiterated on Friday.

Mr Gutwein said no other states or territories had released such details.

"Myself and the minister have been at arm's length from the decision making (about who received grants)," he said.

"All of the necessary framework to ensure that the funds have gone where we've said they would are there - the checks and balances."

The committee, which has received the list of hardship grant recipients on a confidential basis, on Friday wrote to the government asking for the details to be made public.

Mr Gutwein said he was yet to see the letter.

"The committee has carefully considered arguments both for and against releasing this information and is mindful of the mental wellbeing of all recipients," it said in a statement.

"Whilst not a unanimous decision, the committee believes that, in the interests of transparency and fairness, it is appropriate to publish this information in line with accountability for the disbursement of public funds."

The committee noted there was a disclaimer on the grant application saying details may be publicised for the purpose of accountability.

The state's Labor and Greens opposition have pushed for the information to be released.