Regional infrastructure grants program targets Coalition seats
A regional infrastructure grants program, administered by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, awarded 94% of its grants to electorates held or targeted by the Coalition in the months leading up to the 2019 federal election.
Analysis by Nine News, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age of the Building Better Regions Fund showed that 156 of the 166 infrastructure grants announced two months before the 2019 election went to Coalition-held seats, or electorates it was targeting. Nine grants, totalling more than $4 million, were awarded to the seat of Indi, held since 2103 by Independent Cathy McGowan but which the Nationals were trying to win. Previously, it had long been a Liberal seat.
The number of announcements in Indi in March 2019 prompted McGowan to lodge a complaint to the Auditor-General but an audit was not conducted.
Grants totalling $7 million also went to nine organisations in the marginal Victorian electorate of Corangamite. Grants in round three from the regional program went to organisations in Health Minister Greg Hunt’s Victorian electorate of Flinders, which is designated “urban” under other government schemes.