Politicians would lose the ability to decide who gets billions of dollars in grants every year under a proposal from an independent think tank aimed at ending pork-barrelling in key marginal electorates.The Grattan Institute, in a report released overnight, said the “waste” of pork-barrelling had contributed to a fall in community confidence in Australian politics and increased perceptions that the political system was corrupt.
The research follows extensive reporting by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age into the allocation of $2.8 billion worth of grants by the previous Coalition government across 11 separate programs between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
It showed huge discrepancies in the 19,000 grants allocated during that period, with Coalition seats sharing $1.9 billion compared to Labor seats’ $530 million. Adjacent seats received vastly different allocations with the only difference being the political hue of the electorate.
The Grattan research, which used much of the information uncovered by The Herald and The Age, found marginal seats were funded at almost four times the rate of safe seats in the $1 billion Community Development Grant program.
Seven of the 10 seats to receive the most discretionary funding were marginal even though marginal electorates account for just a third of all seats.Grattan Institute calls to end pork-barrelling by leaving grants to the public service