Newly-installed Prime Minister Julia Gillard has brushed off statements that some school principals were intimidated out of speaking to a task force investigating her Building the Education Revolution program.
“I don't think we're running that kind of show,” she told the Macquarie Network on Wednesday.
The task force, headed by Brad Orgill, is currently probing the $16.2 billion government stimulus program which was used on building school facilities to secure jobs during the global financial downturn.
Ms. Gillard said that Complaints through third parties to Mr. Orgill became an issue, however, school principals could approach the task force directly and anonymously.
I've met with a lot of school principals as minister for education and they've always been the most forthright of people, she said.
I don't believe school principals feel intimidated.
The Prime Minister promised to pursue anyone deliberately overcharging for projects if evidences of fraud surfaces.
I'd be there doing anything possible to get that taxpayers' money back, she said.
Meanwhile, Federal Education Minister Simon Crean disclosed to media yesterday that the government has no intention of stalling funds under the BEP program despite concerns from different parties.
The challenge is to ensure we get value for money, not to stop the money flowing, Mr Crean said.
Anyone who stupidly argues that the solution is to stop the money are the people who would argue on the other fronts, you don't (spend) anything.
Of the $16.2 billion promised under the BEP program, $5.7 billion is yet to be committed.