Audit reveals lion share of funds went to Lab


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28-07-2010 08:25 AM


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28-07-2010 08:25 AM



28-07-2010 09:01 AM

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2010-07-28 08:25:58

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JOYCE, Sen Barnaby




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Audit reveals lion share of funds went to Lab -

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Audit reveals lion share of funds went to Labor seats

Brendan Trembath reported this story on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 08:22:00

TONY EASTLEY: Back to federal politics now and an auditor's review of the Federal Government's $550
million infrastructure grants program has found that applications in Labor seats were more than
twice as likely to be approved as projects in Coalition held electorates.

But the Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says funding decisions were based on
departmental advice and followed independent assessments.

He says the four biggest grants went to projects held by Coalition or Independent MPs.

But the Opposition says the auditor's report raises huge concerns.

Brendan Trembath reports.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: In late 2008 as the global financial crisis was crushing confidence the
Australian Government moved to stimulate the economy.

The Government put up more than half a billion dollars for infrastructure projects to help provide
jobs for thousands of workers.

The Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says a report by the Australian National Audit Office
raises no concerns about the merits of the projects which have been funded.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: There's no political bias in this program. Secondly, there's no wastage in this
program and thirdly, by funding through local government what we haven't done is fund private
projects like the former regional partnerships program where money simply went missing, where we
had fundings for ethanol plants that didn't exist or funding for cheese factories that had closed

This is funding through local government determined on the ground by the elected local
representatives and that's a great thing.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But put simply, on page 30, when it says the approval rate for applications from
ALP held electorates was 42.1 per cent, more than twice that of projects located in a Coalition
held electorate, why's that?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: When you're talking about economic stimulus through large community
infrastructure projects, then larger councils, because they have greater capacity will tend to
receive the funding.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But the Coalition's infrastructure spokesman Barnaby Joyce says the auditor's
report tells a different story.

BARNABY JOYCE: It sounds like Mr Albanese hasn't read the Auditor General's report.

They've headed back towards the, you know, the process of, you know, find your seat get the white
board out and approve the projects, approve the projects regardless.

This is nothing more than a dirty Labor Party stack, a dirty Labor Party approach to bribing the
electorate to vote for them again.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: But the Government says a lot of money went to projects in electorates held by
Coalition or Independent MPs.

In the beachside suburb of Manly there's a new plaque by a popular walking path.

It says upgrades to the promenade were made possible by the Federal Government's Regional and Local
Community Infrastructure Program.

Henry Wong is the chief executive of Manly Council.

HENRY WONG: Well the public works consist of beautification, landscaping as well as providing
facilities for children along this very, very busy beach front, which sees approximately eight
million visitors per year.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Manly is in the federal electorate of Tony Abbot, the current Opposition leader,
were you worried that you might not get federal funding because it's a Liberal seat?

HENRY WONG: Oh not at all, I mean the Rudd government at right outset indicated that applications
for funding will be assessed on their merits and we believe that and certainly it comes through as

TONY EASTLEY: The chief executive of Manly Council Henry Wong ending Brendan Trembath's report.