Wollongong grants program 'hokey pokey' to continue

22 September 2021

The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government has delayed a formal response to recent Parliamentary inquiry report which found that it was “unacceptable” for Wollongong to be excluded from grant funding programs, Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully said today.

The Government has advised the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council Public Accountability Committee that it would wait until the second report of the inquiry was published in late October 2021 before responding to the first one.


“While the Government continues to dilly dally in its response Wollongong will continue in the ‘hokey pokey’ of sometimes being in and sometimes being out of grant funding programs based on the personal whim of a minister.


“This is what we’ve been forced to endure over the last decade where the Government has completely excluded us from grant funding eligibility for the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund, Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund and Regional Cultural Fund.


“Wollongong local government area has been classified as part of ‘Metropolitan Sydney’ for these grant programs.


“Our hardworking community and sporting groups have been denied the opportunity to access these funding grants based on nothing but the personal whim of a minister.


“These dodgy practices have continued with the COVID response where Wollongong has been designated as part of Greater Sydney”, he said.


Mr Scully said the first report of the Committee published in March recommended that:


That the NSW Government review and standardise eligibility classifications across grant programs, including investigating whether to include a third category of 'gateway city' in its classification of regions.


“The Government should end its dodgy practices of excluding the Wollongong community from eligibility for grant funding programs that every other part of the state has the opportunity to apply for.


“Resolving Wollongong’s ongoing position with respect of grants funding should have been done by now.


“It should be cleared up in advance of any post-lockdown stimulus programs”, he said.