For the last decade of this Liberal and Nationals Government Wollongong has received inconsistent treatment under different grant programs meaning that community, sporting, charities and local infrastructure have missed out on much-needed funding.
“Wollongong is the third largest city in the state but it has been the first excluded by this NSW Liberals and Nationals Government.
“It’s not right that taxpayers in our region often aren’t even allowed to apply for programs that they should be eligible for”, Mr Scully said.
A recent inquiry by the Legislative Council’s Public Accountability Committee recommended that the NSW Government standardise eligibility classifications across grant programs and investigate whether a “gateway city” classification should be included to cater for cities like Wollongong.
“The history of the NSW Liberals and Nationals is that sometimes Wollongong is considered regional, sometimes we are part of Greater Sydney, but worst of all, many other times we are completely left out.
“As well as cleaning up the transparency and accountability of taxpayer-funded grant programs that have overwhelmingly favoured Liberal and National Party electorates, the Premier’s review must resolve Wollongong’s ongoing position when it comes to grants”, Mr Scully said.
“People will be rightly sceptical about this being just a political fix by the man who has been signing grant program cheques for the last five years.
But one way the Premier can prove that this is a genuine effort to end his Government’s dodgy practices is to end the grants “hokey pokey” which has left Wollongong sometimes in and sometimes out.
“A Parliamentary inquiry has declared Wollongong’s treatment as unacceptable, local residents knows we have been disadvantaged and anyone who looks at what has happened to Wollongong knows that it doesn’t pass the pub test”, Mr Scully said.
“Enough is enough – if the Premier is serious about fixing this I am more than willing to work with him on a long-term consistent approach to the treatment of Wollongong that includes, rather than excludes, us from funding programs”, he said.