Labor electorates scored double the funding


Labor electorates scored twice as much funding as non-government seats under the sports grants scandal which had rocked the Palaszczuk Government on the eve of the state election.

Sports Minister Mick de Brenni has faced renewed calls to resign as analysis by The Courier-Mail shows $18.03 million was funnelled to Labor-held seats, compared with $9.36 million to those held by the LNP and crossbench MPs in two grant programs singled out in a damning Auditor-General report.

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Despite the revelations, Mr de Brenni again defended himself for exercising his "delegated responsibility as Minister" and making the programs "fairer", while the Opposition has termed it blatant pork barrelling

Sports Minister Mick de Brenni. Picture: Steve Pohlner
Sports Minister Mick de Brenni. Picture: Steve Pohlner

An analysis of the 42 winners of the Active Community Infrastructure Kickstart - which were all handpicked by the Sports Minister - reveals he awarded 30 grants to Labor electorates, totalling $8.2 million.

That compares with $3.52 million handed out to 10 LNP seats and $490,407 to two crossbench seats.




And analysis of the Female Facilities Program - under which Mr de Brenni was found to have made 32 changes to department recommendations in awarding 45 grants - finds 28 Labor electorates celebrated $9.83 million in funding, while LNP seats got $4.75 million and those held by crossbenchers received $600,000.





Mr de Brenni denied he'd done anything wrong, lauding his awarding of 42 projects under the Kickstart program that had created jobs and supported the construction industry.

"My decisions have meant that a range of clubs including those run by mums and dads, who rely on sausage-sizzle fundraisers, got a look in, not just rich clubs backed by pokies and councils," he said.

"The Audit Office Information Brief is clear that my decisions were within my delegated responsibility as Minister, and that there has been an equitable distribution of grants," he said

Mr de Brenni has consistently raised the finding that 2900 grants worth a combined $197 million were distributed fairly by political party from mid-2017 to February 2020.

The split is not even when the grants Mr de Brenni exercised his veto powers over are examined.

The Auditor-General found his interference in the Female Facilities Program did increase the proportion of Labor seats, although he found Mr de Brenni's Active Community Infrastructure Kickstart selection was proportionately the same by political party as the list provided by the department.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Twitter @AnnastaciaMP
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture: Twitter @AnnastaciaMP

The spending snapshot comes as Ms Palaszczuk again stood by Mr de Brenni, fobbing off questions around how the Minister used two handpicked grants in his marginal Springwood electorate to spruik himself to voters.

"That was addressed by the Auditor-General, we went through that yesterday," she said.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles said Mr de Brenni's interference wasn't a rort.

"The important thing here is that the Minister acted to ensure the grants went to the most appropriate clubs," he said.

Opposition sport spokesman John Paul Langbroek said the Premier needed to show some leadership and sack Mr de Brenni.

"Mick de Brenni has pork barrelled Labor seats in a blatant abuse of taxpayer money," he said.

"The Labor Minister should never have been making and interfering in these decisions - it's a complete rort and he should be sacked."

Originally published as Labor electorates scored double the funding

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