Royalties’ funding ‘favoured govt seats’ - report shows
QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has dubbed former deputy premier Jeff Seeney's administration of the Royalties for Regions program as a "rort" and "pork-barrelling".
An Auditor-General's report, released on Tuesday, claimed funds from the project were given to projects that did not meet stated guidelines.
Councils in LNP-held seats had a higher rate of success in applying for grants than councils in Labor-held seats.
The report praised Royalties for Regions, which the Labor government renamed Building Our Regions, but suggested funding could have been given to more worthy projects.
Ms Palaszczuk said the report was "damning" towards Mr Seeney.
"This is pork-barrelling at its worst. This is taxpayers' money and every Queenslander should be absolutely shocked and horrified that there was a blatant abuse of process," she said.
"What he presided over was in fact a rorts affair."
But Mr Seeney said he stood by the program which he described as the former government's "signature policy".
The Callide MP, who is on crutches after having hip surgery, claimed Infrastructure Minister Dr Anthony Lynham had provided the Auditor-General with information that would make the program look bad.
"The Labor government has been desperate to discredit the Royalties for Regions program because it was one of the most successful programs of the last government," he said.
Mr Seeney admitted he had not kept the documentation he should have and said he would have "protected himself" if he knew the LNP was going to lose the election.
Mr Seeney said the Auditor-General did not take into account that Royalties for Regions was designed to fund projects in regional Queensland which did not meet other criteria.
"It was no surprise to me that if the Auditor-General began his report from a false premise we would end up with an absolutely absurd report," he said.
But Dr Lynham said the Auditor-General was an independent body with the power to examine department and cabinet documents.