NSW Labor is demanding the Government puts community needs, not political
self-interest, first when awarding the next round of the Stronger Country
Communities Fund (SCCF).
Documents obtained by NSW Labor revealed more than 80 per cent of grants
in the first three rounds were awarded to projects in electorates held by Liberal
and National MPs.
The SCCF is one of several grants currently being scrutinised by an Upper
House inquiry into the Integrity, Efficacy and Value for Money of NSW
Government Grants Programs.
Two more hearing dates for the inquiry have been scheduled for February 1
and February 8.
The Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren, said the
Government is on notice, with applications for round four now open.
“The Inquiry has repeatedly exposed the Government as engaging in a
deliberate and systematic rorting of grants programs – including the Stronger
Country Communities Fund,” Mr Warren said.
“The Government has essentially used the SCCF as a taxpayer-funded slush
fund designed to buy elections. This must not be allowed to occur.”
Round four of the SCCF will have a regional sports focus, with up to $50 million
being made available for the delivery and enhancement of women’s sporting
facilities, including change rooms.
The Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, Lynda Voltz, said community
needs must come before political self-interest.
“Pork barrelling is not ethical or normal behaviour. The revelations stemming
from the inquiry to date have been nothing short alarming. Public money should
be for meeting the needs of our citizens. It isn’t there to be used for the
Premier’s own political purposes,” Ms Voltz said.