State opposition leader Mark McGowan has claimed Royalties for Regions cash is being ‘pork-barrelled’ into National Party electorates and the regions that need it most are missing out, following the release of a report this week.
The WA Regional Development Trust’s review of the Country Local Government Fund was released by National Party leader and regional development minister Brendon Grylls and made 26 recommendations for changes to the fund’s administration.
The fund is the largest of three, which administers Royalties for Regions money and has delivered over $360 million in funding since 2008.
Mr McGowan said the report revealed Mr Grylls’ Wheatbelt electorate received 31 per cent of CLGF funding despite containing only 13 per cent of WA’s regional population.
“By contrast, regions that produced the most royalties including the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne received a collective total of only 18 per cent of the funding,” he said.
“It also appears that despite possessing the largest proportion of WA’s regional population, the Peel and South West regions received only 5.5 per cent and 13.7 per cent respectively.”
Mr Grylls released the report this week. He did not address the concerns of the opposition leader but called for submissions in response to the report from interested parties.
The report said the “CLGF is valued for delivering over 1000 projects from 2008-09 through to 2010-11, and for its contribution to noticeably improving the social and economic fabric of regional WA”.
“None of this implies perfection. The evidence to the review includes sharp criticism as well as many constructive proposals on ways to improve the program.”
Recommendations included addressing the purpose of the CLGF, what should be funded under the CLGF, how much should be available through the fund and who makes the decisions about successful CLGF projects and on what basis.
The report was commissioned by Mr Grylls last June in recognition of the significant funding held in the fund. Mr McGowan said he wrote to WA Regional Development Trust chair last October to express his concerns over the mismanagement of the CLGF.
“I was concerned about the allocation process lacked accountability and today’s report suggests the Barnett government must set better performance standards and come up with ways to measure outcomes,” Mr McGowan said.