Butler to introduce bill aimed at government grant transparency
Member for Barwon Roy Butler will this week introduce legislation to the NSW Parliament aimed at curbing the misuse of government grants by the current Government – or any government.
This Bill follows months of work in the NSW Legislative Council driven by questions Mr Butler asked through his colleague Robert Borsak regarding the Stronger Country Communities Grant program, which culminated in the Public Accountability Committee investigating the NSW Government’s grants programs.
“This Bill has been in the legislative pipeline for months owing to the little time allocated to consider business from anyone other than the NSW Government in Parliament,” said Mr Butler.
“We’ve all been hearing explosive evidence about document shredding in the Premier’s Office, blatant pork barrelling during by-elections, multiple stories about tens of millions of dollars from ‘regional funds’ going to Sydney suburbs, and a cool $90 million being given to one council in Sydney in a matter of days – without any application form from the council and after just a couple of phone calls and emails.
“Just imagine what some of this money could have gone to fixing or improving in our communities out west.
“The Bill I will be introducing and debating on Thursday takes the first step down the path to putting rigour and controls around the Government's various grant processes. The Bill is simple in nature; it seeks to place a series of controls in place that will see elected Local Members directly informed about grants processes and applicants from their electorate.
“These are important controls because after all the people of NSW taxpayer dollars we're talking about, not a Government election campaign slush fund.
“In the past week we have heard the Premier say he wants to improve transparency in this space – supporting this Bill would be a move in the right direction and would signal strongly to the people of regional NSW that he’s going to stop the pork barrelling we continue to see from the Liberals and Nationals in Government.”
The Government Sector Finance Amendment (Government Grants) Bill 2021 will be debated on Thursday 11 November in the Legislative Assembly it has already passed the Legislative Council. A copy of the Bill can be found here.