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Community development grants a $2.5 billion slush fund

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Election Rorts | Liberal Party | QED

Community development grants a $2.5 billion slush fund

2019 – 2022 – 2025

Officially, the Community Development Grants scheme provides funding for “critical” projects. Unofficially, it is one giant slush fund to enable the Coalition to pork-barrel its way through another two election campaigns at a cost of more than $2.5 billion.

The Community Development Grants scheme provides funding for “critical” projects where the Coalition Government has identified the need for new or upgraded facilities. “Only projects identified by the Australian Government will be considered for funding under the CDG Programme, including the Government Election Commitments since 2013 and other government-initiated projects. The CDG Programme is a non-competitive grants program.”

As Michael West Media has already pointed out, the program’s guidelines spell out its purpose as a slush fund to institutionalise public funding for political and partisan electioneering outcomes.

While the scheme was meant to end at 30 June 2020, it has now been extended by six years to 2026, enabling the Coalition to pork-barrel its way through another two election campaigns. Moreover, the cost of the rort is more than $2.5 billion, 25 times bigger than the sports rorts affair.

In 2019, Coalition seats scored 75.5% of grant money, while Labor seats received just 19.9%. The 68 Labor-held seats averaged $836,000 (22 seats received nothing), Liberal seats $2.086 million, LNP seats in Queensland $2.473 million and the 10 National Party seats an average of $6.712 million.

The Rigs are Getting Bigger: Michael Pascoe on Community Development Grants rorts

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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