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NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole accused of failing to disclose income from investment properties



The NSW Deputy Premier has been accused of failing to disclose income from investment properties, a breach of parliamentary rules.

The NSW Deputy Premier has been accused of earning up to $127,000 from renting out properties without disclosing the income to the parliament in an alleged breach of rules for MPs.

The allegation was levelled by a Labor MP during a parliamentary hearing on Thursday.

Paul Toole told NCA NewsWire that he had “already made moves to rectify the matter”.

The latest set of disclosure forms to parliament show Mr Toole declared himself “sole owner” of three Bathurst investment properties.

Labor’s upper house leader Penny Sharp told parliament that Mr Toole was receiving rent from some of those properties that he had failed to disclose.

She told NCA NewsWire that property searches and public records indicate the total rental income from one of the properties could be as large as $100,000, while the total income from another could amount to $27,000.

Bathurst real estate websites show the two investment properties owned by Mr Toole are listed as “leased”, one for the sum of $290 per week.

However, Mr Toole wrote “n/a” in response to a question on the disclosure form whether he had any “other income” to disclose.

“The Deputy Premier has three current properties that are not his principal place of residence, and it appears that he‘s receiving rent from some or all of these properties, and he has never declared this,” Ms Sharpe said during a budget estimates hearing.

The MP rule book says the members must disclose “sources of income … all income over $500 other than salary of office”.

Asked for comment, Mr Toole said on Thursday afternoon: “I have always sought to be transparent with my pecuniary interests and disclosed the ownership of all properties as required.

“As soon as the issue was raised, I sought clarification and have already made moves to rectify the matter.”

Ms Sharpe asked Premier Dominic Perrottet if the apparent omission by his deputy made him “concerned”.

“Well, I will obviously take that on notice,” Mr Perrottet said.

“And I would check that that were to be true, and in fact, if it were to be true, and it needed to be declared, I would raise it with the Deputy Premier and with (the legal advisers at the Department of Premier and Cabinet). “

Ms Sharpe shot back: “It’s a breach of the code of conduct for MPs, is it not?”

Mr Perrottet responded: “Well, I would have to seek legal advice on that from DPC.”

“And I’m taking your question at face value without understanding the circumstances of those matters,” Mr Perrottet added.

Ms Sharpe told Mr Perrottet that the Deputy Premier had declared a “range” of investment properties over the years but hadn’t disclosed any extra income.

“In light of that I would take that on notice and I would raise that directly with the Deputy Premier and determine his obligations in relation to the declaration of those properties with DPC legal,” Mr Perrottet said.

Mr Toole signed his latest disclosure form on July 14 and it was made available to the public following parliament’s post-lockdown return.

The form covers the 2020-2021 financial year.

The Bathurst MP, who was made deputy premier in the first week of October, declared his primary residence in the suburb of Kelso as well as a gift from the Bathurst Regional Council.

He also declared a travel contribution from Qantas.

Mr Toole’s annual salary as deputy premier, including his base MP salary and an expense allowance, is $343,460.

He has been contacted for comment.




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