February 25, 2022

Scathing report - zero funding went to bushfire-devastated Ballina, Blue Mountains or Central Coast

The bushfire-impacted areas of the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Ballina did not receive a single dollar from stage-one funding through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery packages, a fresh Parliamentary report has found.

This is despite those areas respectively suffering bushfire damages of $163 million, $65 million and $4.2 million.

The NSW Parliament’s Public Accountability Committee delivered its final report into government grants today - the report can be found here.

Chair of the Public Accountability Committee, Greens MP David Shoebridge, said:

“The Coalition government has repeatedly used public money for political gain and the system remains open to widespread abuse in the lead up to next year’s election, the final report of the NSW Parliament’s Public Accountability Committee handed down today.

"This report not only identifies the repeated systemic failures of the grants system, it also proposes reforms to restore public confidence in the grants system. These recommendations focus on transparency, integrity and accountability.

“This is urgent work; with a State election on the horizon these reforms must be adopted before grants are again used to improperly buy votes instead of address need," Mr Shoebridge said.

Greens MP and Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said:

“Communities on the North Coast were left reeling after bushfires destroyed homes, businesses and livelihoods, it is impossible to understand how politics got in the way of help.

“This report shines a spotlight on the way the Liberal-National government is willing to use public money, even in an emergency, for their own ends.

“The people of Ballina deserve so much more from their government.

“I am committed to making these reforms law so that those members of our community still struggling can get the help they desperately need, regardless of their politics,” Ms Smith said.

Finding 1 of the final report into government grants by the NSW Parliament’s Public Accountability Committee:
“Despite an economic impact of the bushfires on the Central Coast valued at $163.3 million, on the Blue Mountains of $65.4 million, and on Ballina of $4.2 million, these councils did not receive funding under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery stage one funding.”

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