The Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declined to tell Parliament why she changed the rules of a $250 million grant program to allow 95% of funds to go to Coalition seats.
In an email obtained by NSW Labor, Sarah Lau, a Senior Policy Advisor for the Premier wrote on 25 June 2018: “The Premier has signed the updated guidelines for this funding.”
This change meant money from the Stronger Communities Fund designed for forcibly-amalgamated Councils could be directed to Councils that were not merged, without informing key stakeholders.
Within 24 hours of being told it was eligible, Hornsby Shire Council in Environment Minister Matt Kean’s electorate was allocated $90 million. Other Councils had been told there were no funds available.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said: “The Premier refused to explain why she changed the rules to overwhelmingly benefit Coalition-held seats.
“The Premier has manipulated this quarter of a billion dollar program to create an election slush fund for the Coalition.”