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‘Catholic education boss referred to ICAC’: Parliament



Parramatta Catholic Education Diocese executive director Greg Whitby was referred to the NSW corruption watchdog amid allegations the Diocese purchased two properties in Kenthurst to “bail out” a parish in a difficult financial situation. A confidential source, with knowledge of the referral to ICAC, said the Parramatta Diocese purchased the properties on behalf of St Madeleine’s Primary School in Kenthurst.“Senior members of the Parramatta Catholic Education Diocese raised concerns over the sale of the land,” the source told NewsLocal.‘Courageous, innovative’: Catholic schools director retiresOpening day at high-rise Catholic schoolThe allegations came to light during a parliamentary hearing in April, when Education committee chair Mark Latham asked the NSW Government for the status of the investigation into the use of Catholic Education funds. Mr Latham said “school funds have been used to purchase two parish properties with no apparent educational use”.“The very clear suggestion (is) that these properties have been purchased by Mr Whitby, head of the diocese, to bail out a parish priest who is a friend of his in financial trouble in the management of the parish.”Mr Whitby has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. The referral to the NSW ICAC comes as the executive director announced his retirement at the end of the 2022 school year. “It has been a blessing to have the opportunity to help make a difference to the lives and learning of so many children and young people through my work of school and system leadership, “ Mr Whitby said last month. “My heartfelt thanks to everyone I have had the privilege to work with throughout my long career in education.”Mr Whitby currently oversees 80 Catholic schools across Greater Western Sydney, and has been recognised with an appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia, as well as the award of a Papal Knighthood in the Order of St Gregory the Great in 2013. A Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta spokeswoman told NewsLocal Mr Whitby was “entirely unaware of the referral to ICAC when he announced his plans to retire later this year”. “Mr Whitby strongly denies the allegations,” she said. In a question to parliament last week, One Nation MLC Mark Latham asked Education Minister Sarah Mitchell if she would “remove Mr Whitby from the NSW Skills Board”. Mr Whitby was appointed by the Skills and Training Minister and NSW Cabinet to serve on the NSW Skills Board for his “knowledge of skills and higher education, high-level experience of market operations, and strong understanding of financial, risk and project management”.In a response to Mr Latham, Ms Mitchell said: “I am advised that no individuals are under investigation by the section 83 committee with regard to the use of Parramatta Catholic Education Diocese resources”.

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