WEDNESDAY, 6 NOVEMBER 2019
SUBJECT: Audit into Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Thanks everybody for coming out. Well, while everybody was preparing to watch the Melbourne Cup yesterday, the Morrison Government decided to sneak out an adverse report from the Australian National Audit Office. This was a report into the $220 million Jobs and Investment Program that the Government said was meant to be increasing jobs across disadvantaged regions. It chose 10 region across the country and what the Audit report found was that the Government has funded projects that were ineligible for funding, that the Government funded five projects that, in fact, had come in late without any explanation as to why they were accepted. That in almost 30 percent of circumstances it decided to override the recommendations of the Department not to fund projects. And in 17 percent of times, it also decided to fund projects that weren’t recommended.
This is a program for regional communities to improve their job opportunities. What we also saw in the Audit report from Labor’s own analysis of this funding is that even within regions not every community was treated the same. In areas such as Geelong, for example, a larger proportion of funding went to the seat of Corangamite versus the seat of Corio. Down around the area of Gilmore, we saw that a larger proportion of the funding in that region went to Gilmore as opposed to Eden-Monaro. When you head up into Queensland, money went more into the area around Cairns than it did into the seat of Kennedy. They were in the same regions.
The Government’s got some questions to answer in relation to this report. If it wants to grow regional communities, if it wants to make sure that we are treating regions the same then it actually needs to act on this report and explain how on earth it had a Ministerial Panel that came up with the decisions that it did.
I’m very happy to take any questions.
That’s all good.