6 November 2019

The Morrison Government has tried to hide a scathing Auditor-General’s report by releasing it on Melbourne Cup day. The report “savaged the government’s management of the sweeping policy to create ‘jobs and growth’ in ten regions as part of a Coalition promise at the 2016 election… Government officials recommended hundreds of applications for regional job programs but were overruled by a ministerial panel which rejected 64 projects seeking $75.9 million. Instead, the ministerial panel allocated $77.4 million to 64 other projects not recommended by officials responsible for regional development and industry.” This $200 million program was intended to help regions (like the Latrobe Valley) that have struggled with economic stagnation following structural shifts in the economy. Is it any wonder that people are sceptical when politicians promise a “just transition”, when it is abused as a political slush fund for pet projects at election time? Any proposal for a Green New Deal needs to be clear about how it will be protected from this kind of interference.