AUDIT OFFICE COMMENCE INVESTIGATION OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GRANTS PROGRAM

Labor welcomes the announcement by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to investigate the Coalition’s Community Development Grants program.

Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Stephen Jones MP, said the Coalition had allocated nearly $1 billion with next to no transparency.

“Successive Minsters for Regional Development have used the Community Development Grants as a slush fund for using millions of dollars of public money for their own political purposes.

“The Coalition has used this program to pork barrel projects in Coalition-held and marginal seats across regional Australia.

“There is no competitive grants process instead with funding allocated at the discretion of the Minister.

“Commonwealth Grant Guidelines clearly state a ‘competitive, merit-based selection processes should be used to allocate grants.’ The Coalition’s Community Development slush-fund flies in the face of these guidelines.

“On 15 May, I wrote to the ANAO requesting an audit of this program. I welcome the decision the ANAO has taken, today, to conduct this investigation.”