Keith Duncan, Pimlico
Another coalition government, another pork-barrelling scandal, it shouldn’t surprise anyone. This time Gladys Berejiklian and accomplice, pork-barrelling supremo John (pork) Barilaro, are being accused of allocating the vast majority of $250 million in the ‘Stronger Communities Program’ designed to assist councils after mergers, into Coalition-held seats, prior to the 2019 election.
Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Premier, (Gladys) had direct oversight into the granting of $90 million (a third of the entire scheme) to Hornsby Council, which hadn’t even amalgamated. The fact that former Liberal Federal Minister Phillip Ruddock is now Mayor of Hornsby Council is probably just a mere coincidence?
The Stronger Communities Fund was set up to compensate local councils that were forced into amalgamation, but Western Sydney mayors in Labor-held seats are claiming to have missed out on funding completely, and to not even have known about it.
Another ‘coincidence’ occurred in Barilaro’s own electorate where local councils that, again, weren’t impacted by amalgamation received $4 million.
Coalition governments are appallingly hypocritical, on one hand they dream up illegal schemes like robo-debt to attack ordinary hard-working Australians for supposedly ripping off the public purse; but the Coalition has no shame when it comes to plundering that same public purse in order to stay in power.