The Auditor-General’s Report on Grants Administration shows that contrary to public perception, the grants received by both safe Government and Opposition seats is almost 30% higher than grants going to independent seats, Member for Ballina and Opposition spokesman for the North Coast Don Page said.

The Auditor-General report states:

“Safe major party electorates got $1.29 for every dollar received by marginal and independent electorates … our analysis indicated that marginals did worse than safe seats regardless of who held them.”

Mr Page said the Auditor-General analysed grants made by NSW Health, the Environment Trust (ET), the Department of Community Services (DoCS), Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) and Environment and Climate Change (DECC).

The analysis involved 26,800 grants worth $5.2 billion over a 5-year period of government grants made between 2002-3 and 2006-7.

“The good news for the North Coast is that we as a region are the second top region for receiving grants,” Mr Page said.

“Whilst the State average was $11.3 million per electorate each year, the North Coast received $13 million per electorate each year compared with $9.9 million for the Northern Tablelands.

“The NSW Labor Government and others are fond of saying you need to be a government or independent seat to do well.

“The Auditor-General figures clearly demonstrate this is a myth and that Nationals members (who hold all North Coast seats, except Port Macquarie – held by an independent) are very effective at getting grant money for their electorates.”