55 per cent of 'Regional' grants went to the cities

55 per cent of 'Regional' grants went to the cities  Main Image

By Kristy McBain

20 October 2021

Analysis released by the Australian National Audit Office has revealed that 55 per cent of all "regional" grants announced by the Morrison-Joyce Government since 2018 have gone to projects located in the major cities.

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain said this was another blow for regional areas that had to deal with so much during this time.

“It is frustrating to see that 3,682 ‘regional’ grants went to major cities, compared to only 309 projects in areas classified as ‘remote’ or ‘very remote’,” Ms McBain said.

“The fact is these grants are targeted at regional areas for a reason. The money and support should be flowing to regional communities like Adelong, Cooma, Braidwood and Bombala – not to Surry Hills.

“The Morrison-Joyce Government talks a big game when it comes to regional development, but it’s clear to me that they continually favour projects based in the major cities – and this report proves it.

“Regional areas can’t continue to be left behind, this government needs to actually invest in them.

“The ANAO analysis also found that more than 40 per cent of all government grants awarded since 2018 were granted through a ‘closed non-competitive process’.

“One of those closed round tenders resulted in $10million of regional and remote funding going to the North Sydney Pool. The city project was put first despite pools across this region desperately needing upgrades which we’ve seen this through recent grant applications for Bega, Batlow and Khancoban pools.”

The revelations from the ANAO follow hot on the heels of new analysis revealing that roughly 90 per cent of Building Better Regions Round 5 grants went to Coalition held or targeted seats and that Coalition backbenchers were given the opportunity to lobby for projects that didn't meet the funding criteria.

“I would have loved to have been able to advocate for projects in Eden-Monaro because I know there are so many worthy projects here – but I wasn’t given this same opportunity,” Ms McBain said.