2019 – 2022 – 2025
Officially, the Community Development Grants scheme provides funding for “critical” projects. Unofficially, it is one giant slush fund to enable the Coalition to pork-barrel its way through another two election campaigns at a cost of more than $2.5 billion.
The Community Development Grants scheme provides funding for “critical” projects where the Coalition Government has identified the need for new or upgraded facilities. “Only projects identified by the Australian Government will be considered for funding under the CDG Programme, including the Government Election Commitments since 2013 and other government-initiated projects. The CDG Programme is a non-competitive grants program.”
As Michael West Media has already pointed out, the program’s guidelines spell out its purpose as a slush fund to institutionalise public funding for political and partisan electioneering outcomes.
While the scheme was meant to end at 30 June 2020, it has now been extended by six years to 2026, enabling the Coalition to pork-barrel its way through another two election campaigns. Moreover, the cost of the rort is more than $2.5 billion, 25 times bigger than the sports rorts affair.
In 2019, Coalition seats scored 75.5% of grant money, while Labor seats received just 19.9%. The 68 Labor-held seats averaged $836,000 (22 seats received nothing), Liberal seats $2.086 million, LNP seats in Queensland $2.473 million and the 10 National Party seats an average of $6.712 million.
McCormack breaches lobbying code to award $2.6m airport grant
Deputy prime minister Michael McCormack struck a pre-election deal with an unregistered political lobbyist and former Howard Government adviser for a $2.6 million airport upgrade ahead of the launch of the Regional Airports Program.
Roads funding directed to Coalition, marginal seats
Labor claims that the vast majority of spending from the Urban Congestion Fund before the election went to Coalition, marginal seats.
Regional infrastructure grants program targets Coalition seats
The program, administered by Deputy PM 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.
Sports rorts – the affair that just keeps on giving
In January 2020, the Commonwealth Auditor-General found that Bridget McKenzie’s office made up its own rules for doling out $100 million of sports grants leading up to the 2019 federal election in a process that was possibly illegal.
Gold miner gets $1m for power plant it was going to build anyway
The Coalition government’s emissions reduction fund gives $1 million to one of the world’s biggest gold miners to help pay for a fossil-fuel power plant the company would have built anyway.
Minister’s role a link in grant to ineligible business
The office of former regional development minister the LNP's John McVeigh asked the Infrastructure Department to reconsider an ineligible Queensland abattoir for a regional jobs grant.
Regional Growth Fund follows sport rorts playbook
Of the $248 million in Regional Growth Fund grants awarded just ahead of the 2019 election, Coalition seats snagged $234 million.