State Estimates Kate Jones
State Estimates Kate Jones

Minister quizzed on grant to minder’s company

INNOVATION Minister Kate Jones has told a Budget Estimates hearing she has never held any discussions with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's right-hand man about a fund a company he part-owns secured taxpayer cash through.

Both Ms Jones and her director-general Damien Walker faced questions about the awarding of $267,500 in co-investment from the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund to Fortress Capstone, part-owned by Ms Palaszczuk's chief-of-staff David Barbagallo.

The company is developing a cruise ship tracking app.

Advance Queensland comes under Ms Jones's portfolio, but the fund itself is administered by Queensland Investment Corporation under Treasurer Jackie Trad's portfolio.

QIC told The Courier-Mail last week it administered the fund but any investment decisions were made by an independent panel.

Both Ms Jones and Mr Walker were asked if they had spoken with Mr Barbagallo, or fellow Fortress Capstone shareholder and former chief entrepreneur Steve Baxter about the fund.

Both responded no.

"I have had no discussions with David Barbagallo about that business - ever," Ms Jones told the hearing.