The federal government has been accused of using $ 22 million in environmental grants to boost its popularity in coalition seats ahead of the May election while keeping other voters in the dark about the program.
Since Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Community Environment Program earlier this month, Coalition MPs have started to raise awareness of the policy to their constituents and collect expressions of interest through their websites. .
However, Labor and Greens claim their MPs’ offices have been denied information on how and when the money will be distributed, or how voters can apply.
Environment Minister Melissa Price’s office said the program was “appropriate” and would not favor any constituency.
Under the program, up to 20 community groups in each electorate could share a maximum of $ 150,000 for projects such as waste reduction, endangered species protection and coastal restoration. Grant applications will open later this year.
Labor spokesman for the environment, Tony Burke, described the program as “a complete failure” and said the government “put the needs of their marginal seats first and the needs of the environment last. “.
“Nothing was said to the non-governmental members [about the program] and yet, Liberal after Liberal and National after National have an expression of interest form on their web page, all with the same closing date, âhe said.
“This is yet another example of a government where the only form of science it cares about is political science.”
MPs should consult with their community to identify a shortlist of projects that may apply for funding.