There are growing fears that communities are missing out on required infrastructure upgrades due to the federal government increasingly directing grants funding to marginal electorates.
An analysis of the Community Development Grants program showed that, between 2018 and 2020, Braddon received more than $34 million in grant funding for 15 projects, and Lyons received $25.9 million for 21 projects, while safe Labor seat Franklin received just $75,000 for one project.
In Bass, $7.4 million was distributed, with three of the five projects in George Town and another in Scottsdale. Launceston received funding for one project.
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Franklin Labor MHR Julie Collins demanded an explanation from the federal government as to why so little funding had been awarded to projects in her electorate.
"Sadly this government has a long track-record of failing to fund valuable projects in Franklin," she said.
"These grants were decided by the party of sports rorts, so it is hardly surprising that funding was not more equitably distributed across the state.
"Labor will always support funding for projects that benefit all Tasmanians and they should be on the basis of boosting our state's economic, health and social wellbeing."
The project list showed safe Labor seats interstate also received far less grant funding under the program, including low socio-economic seats in Sydney and Adelaide, while North Sydney scored the most funding of any electorate.
The grants program is supposed to provide funding based on "identified need", however determining this "need" is purely a matter for the government.
These grants were decided by the party of sports rorts, so it is hardly surprising that funding was not more equitably distributed across the state.Julie Collins, Franklin Labor MHR
A spokesperson for federal Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the CDG program delivered the government's election commitments for community or regional infrastructure.
"Projects receiving a funding commitment under the CDG program are required to undergo a rigorous value-for-money assessment by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in accordance with published guidelines before funding is approved to flow," the spokesperson said.
Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz said Labor needed to be "honest" and "say which [projects] they would have jumped in favour of which projects".
"There is more money being provided up north during election campaigns ... basically ... to even up the ledger," he said.
Senator Abetz pointed to the fact that Hobart was the state's chief "beneficiary" of Commonwealth public servants' pay packets. He also noted that considerable funding was being provided for a new Bridgewater Bridge, as well as Hobart's case for being the international gateway to Antarctica.
There were also projects funded in Clark that indirectly serviced the Franklin electorate, the senator said.
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