Grants redirected to support Coalition held seats

Letters to the editor

[Forum] After a call for papers by The Greens in State Parliament, it has been revealed that $140M from the Stronger Communities Fund designated to assist merged councils like ours, was redirected through changed guidelines to support the Coalition in the lead up to the 2019 State Election (Sydney Morning Herald July 4-5).

A NSW Coalition slush fund, much like the Federal Coalition Government’s sports rorts, there to promote themselves and hopefully give them an electoral advantage incenses me and fills me with rage at the injustice perpetrated by our elected officials.

This is not good government.

Central Coast Council, and all other merged councils, missed out because of political interference in due process of allocation of a fund because the Coalition changed the guidelines at the 11th hour.

So, not corruption, just immoral and unethical behavior, led by the Premier herself.

To add insult to injury, it was allocated, in many instances, to councils that had not even asked for the funding.

All of these secret deals were being done while we are $50 odd million in debt.

Shame, Government, shame!

A previous Greens analysis also showed that, since 2017, almost 80 percent of the Stronger Communities Fund grants of the $250M pool were allocated to Coalition held seats (Sydney Morning Herald July 4-5).

Is it any wonder people that lose faith in their politicians when they see this type of rorting?

A Government tears away funds from councils that should have received them on a basis of need and secretly allocates them to councils which, many like Hornsby Council receiving $90M, had not even asked for the funds, and others which found out that they had been approved for funding and then applied.

It’s frustrating and deplorable.

It is time to take these grant programs away from the politicians and have them allocated by a legislated body at arm’s length from the government of the day.

An independent body that can apply the guidelines without interference from the politicians.

Once the grant has been announced, the funds must go into locked accounts and be expended against the guidelines which cannot be altered or amended in any way by the government of the day.

Everything would be reported to the public immediately upon completion of funds allocation.

Let’s really have open and transparent governance.

We need to know at the time, not a year later after an election and a Parliamentary Inquiry, so we can make an informed judgment of their performance before they come up for re-election.

If we still have any politicians with a backbone, morality and a conscience in government, please find the money taken for political purposes and restore it to the rightful recipients.

We certainly know that we have so many worthwhile projects across the Central Coast sitting, shovel-ready and waiting for grant funding that would certainly build a Stronger Community.

Email, Jul 6
Sue Wynn, Mannering Park