The Greens have questioned the ethics of a NSW Government decision that has directed money from the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund to NSW Government projects run by the Department of Planning and Environmental Protection Agency.

The allocation of more than $1 million in grants under the scheme was announced yesterday and included two grants totalling almost $144,000 to NSW Government departments for an Industrial Land Activation Project and contamination reports.

Greens Spokesperson for the Illawarra Justin Field said the Illawarra community did not support the Government hand-picking its own projects ahead of genuine community projects.

The purpose of the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund is to support community projects that:

  • increase economic activity;
  • enhance activation and connectivity of public infrastructure, precincts and community spaces; and
  • improved environmental air, land and waterway quality.

Other projects funded in this round include lighting for local ovals, a wetlands rehabilitation project and the Wonderwalls mural project.

“The question the community should be asking is, what genuine community projects have missed out in order to give almost a quarter of the total fund granted in this round to Government departments,” Mr Field said.

“The community doesn’t expect big departments and agencies with multi-million dollar budgets to dip into community funds, it sets an appalling precedent.

“Those projects should be funded within the Government’s recurrent budget and the Community Investment Fund money redirected to local community projects.

“The Government should look into the process of allocating and prioritising these grants so this situation doesn’t occur again,” he said.