Deputy PM insists government doesn’t want fewer audits as Australia’s auditor general pleads for funding

Michael McCormack wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

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Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Michael McCormack has insisted the government doesn’t want – and there will not be – fewer audits of its activities, despite the auditor general warning he needs more funding or will have to make cuts.

The deputy prime minister and infrastructure minister also walked back his earlier comments that the purchase of land at Western Sydney airport for 10 times its fair value would come to be seen as “a bargain”, after Scott Morrison publicly rejected his assessment.

On Wednesday Guardian Australia revealed budget constraints have resulted in the Australian National Audit Office conducting six audits fewer than its target, prompting the auditor general, Grant Hehir, to write to Morrison pleading for more funding in next week’s budget.

Related: Agency that uncovered sports rorts will be forced to cut back on audits without budget rescue

In 2019-20 the ANAO produced 42 performance

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