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Regional Growth Fund follows sport rorts playbook

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Liberal Party

Regional Growth Fund follows sport rorts playbook

2018 ongoing
Some $248 million of the $272 million (89%) of the Regional Growth Fund grants were awarded just ahead of the 2019 election. Of that $248 million, Coalition seats snagged $234 million.

The Regional Growth Fund was announced as part of the 2017-18 budget with grants of $10 million or more for major transformational projects to “create jobs in regions, including those undergoing structural adjustment”.

Marginal seats got a strong allocation with $134 million corralled by the marginal seats of Dawson; Pearce; Casey; Braddon; Capricornia; Herbert; Cowper; Page and Gilmore.In the rare instance where grants were awarded to Labor-held seats, the sports-rorts playbook was followed. The announcement was made by the local LNP candidate or LNP senator. Sitting Labor members didn’t get look in.

The RGF was cleverly designed from an electioneering point of view, enabling the local member/candidate to publicise their “role” in securing funding after a grant application had passed phase 1, and then milking publicity from the awarding of the grant to grab that all-important sod-turning photo-op.

The ministers named on the press release were: Michael McCormack, Bridget McKenzie, Sussan Ley and Andrew Broad.

Coalition’s “miracle” election win claim under fire as more rorts surface

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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