Posted August 30th, 2023

Community groups across the Myall Lakes have missed out on funding for local projects under a dodgy slush fund created by Labor in the lead up to the 2023 election.

The one-year Local Small Commitment Allocation (LSCA) program was designed to give every Labor candidate $400,000 to commit to local community projects in a bid to win votes.

Member for Myall Lakes, Tanya Thompson said, “Promising public money to specific organisations chosen by Labor, is the definition of pork barrelling.”

“Hearing about Labor’s shameful political tactics is extremely concerning and what’s more concerning is the fact the candidate got to choose the winners of these grants, even though they didn’t get elected,” Thompson said.

“The Myall Lakes were allocated $300,000 out of $400,000 which was spent across 6 unknown projects in our region but there was no process to justify this funding, so how do we know our hard-earned taxpayer dollars were well spent?”

“There were also countless community groups who would have loved the opportunity to apply for a share in this support, but they were completely cut out and didn’t get a chance to put their case forward.”

$22.5 million of the $37 million fund has already been spent and any money left over in each electorate has been given to the local council.

“Given that $100k has been allocated to our local council, I’m calling on them to inform the community what project(s) have been funded with this state government funding. Surely there needs to be some transparency,” said Thompson.

The funding was originally set aside for the Liberal and National’s Community Building Partnership program which involved an application process before the department would allocate the funding.

Under that program St John Ambulance Manning-Great Lakes received funding for a Community Hall Upgrade, PCYC received funding for repairs to their covered walkway entrance and Forster Tuncurry Lions Club received funding for their trampoline & mini putt putt refurbishment. These were some of the 23 projects that were funded in the Myall Lakes in the 2022 round.

The Bulahdelah Men’s Shed would have benefited from a share in the $400k funding. “Our members are fundraising for our new shed and some of this funding could have been a huge help in reaching our goal of $220,000,” said David Flynn, President of the Bulahdelah Men’s Shed.

“Labor has completely missed the mark here and it is disappointing that they think they know what’s best for our community, without any consultation,” Thompson said.

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