NSW government introduces anti-pork barrelling bill

The NSW government says it’s cracking down on pork barrelling with the introduction of legislation designed to strengthen the administration and governance of the state’s $4 billion a year grants system.

Premier Chris Minns

It comes after a series of scandals and critical reports involving the allocation of state government grants ranging from community infrastructure to bushfire funding.

The bill, introduced into parliament on Thursday, will make grants information openly available unless there’s a sound public interest for not disclosing it.

All fast-track disaster grants will be classified high risk and will require scrutiny from the auditor general, and ministers will have to ensure every grant they approve is efficient, effective, economical, ethical, and value for money.

The legislation requires that anyone who approves or knocks back a grant does so with regard to outcomes, value for money, accountability, probity and transparency. It also bans ministers from approving grants unless they are satisfied it is an ethical and efficient use of money.

Premier Chris Minns said the politicisation of public money has to end and past abuses of the grants system has highlighted the need for stronger laws.

“Grants approved under my government will adhere to the highest standards ever seen in NSW,” he said in a statement.

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