NSW to review grant programs amid candid talk of pork barrelling

By Jackson Graham

November 4, 2021

Dominic Perrottet
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has launched a government review into grant programs amid the state’s corruption watchdog hearing from Gladys Berejiklian that the government “threw money” at seats to keep them. 

The review will be led by the NSW department of premier and cabinet in partnership with productivity commissioner Peter Achterstraat.

In a move that distances Perrottet from Berejiklian’s comments, he said he shared taxpayers’ expectations that the distribution of funding was fair. 

“Every dollar from NSW taxpayers is important,” he said in a statement.

“I am committed to making sure grant programs are fair, robust and follow best practice when those dollars are put to work in the community.” 

A team will review that grants programs administered by the NSW government achieve value for public money, have strong planning and design, and follow principles of transparency, accountability and probity.

The NSW’s Good Practice Guide to Grants Administration, from 2010, will also be updated as part of the review. 

The Mandarin reported on Wednesday that an expert believes public servants can thwart pork-barrelling by ensuring the public interest criteria accompanying a potential project is published ahead of ministerial or cabinet decisions to fund a project. 

Labor has cast a $20 million program to equip NSW schools with renewable energy as pork barrelling, highlighting that 23 of the 25 schools in a pilot were in coalition electorates. 

Perrottet said he believed the grants had been delivered on need based on where the education department had advised. 

Treasurer Matt Kean said the review would ensure the government was delivering on public expectations to provide value for money to improve quality of life, productivity and prepare for future needs.


READ MORE:

NSW government slammed for using grants to pork-barrel and ‘punish’

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