The former Liberal government announced at least $1.56 million in safer community grants for target Labor-held seats in the closing weeks of the 2022 election campaign, without submitting them to the Home Office for review.
The $265 million Safer Communities scheme, which has been criticized by the Australian National Audit Office for a lack of transparency, was hit by former Home Secretary Karen Andrews and Deputy Community Safety Secretary Jason Wood – who oversaw the grants – at $50 million US dollar spiked days before 2022 election was called.
In response to questions from Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill, the Home Office confirmed that 467 grant applications under the Safer Communities program were approved in rounds four, five and six of the May 18, 2019 program.
But that legal notice has uncovered at least three grants that aren’t listed as having been approved by the Home Office and aren’t listed on the federal government’s Grant Connect website — but that were announced by the coalition in the last few weeks of the federal election.
They include $1 million for the Sri Lankan-Australian community’s Buddhist vihara temple in the Melbourne suburb of Berwick at Holt’s headquarters, then held by Labor with an 8.9 percent margin.
Announced jointly by Wood and Liberal candidate Ranj Perera – who had previously served as Wood’s chief of staff – this grant was intended to pay for surveillance cameras, footpath lights, security fencing and a security system.
Victorian Senator Sarah Henderson and Manish Patel, the Liberal candidate for Corio, announced $500,000 for the security systems and community security infrastructure for the Gurudwara Sikh Temple in Geelong. Corio was a relatively safe Labor seat with a margin of 10.3 percent.
And in Dobell, a seat Labor holds by a 1.5 percent margin, Liberal candidate Michael Feneley pledged $60,000 to pay for CCTV, security lighting, a fence and an alarm system for the Glen for Women, a Ministry, grief, finance, relationship, gambling and trauma counseling for women.
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/liberals-announced-1-5-million-in-safety-grants-not-approved-by-home-affairs-20230213-p5ck61.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_politics_federal Liberal candidates announced $1.5 million in security grants that were not approved by the Home Department