The Community Development Grants Program (CDGP/the program) originated from commitments made by the then Opposition in the lead-up to the 2013 Federal election. Its coverage has been extended over time so that it now includes commitments from the 2016 election as well as uncontracted projects from programs that were abolished following the 2013 election and other commitments.
The CDGP provides funding to construct and upgrade facilities to provide long term improvements in social and economic viability of local communities. Total funding for the CDGP is currently $936.8 million, with a program end date of 30 June 2020. Funding has been approved for 680 projects with a total value of $785.9 million.
The CDGP is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.
During an election campaign candidates may undertake to provide certain funding, services or facilities if their party is elected or re-elected to government. Election commitments are often implemented through a grant. All grants are required to be awarded through processes that comply with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (CGRGs). The CDGP was selected for audit due to Parliamentary interest in the award of program funding, including compliance with the CGRGs and the proposed benefits from projects that have been awarded funding.
The objective of the audit was to examine the design and conduct of the award of funding under the CDGP.
To form a conclusion against this audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level criteria:
- Is the design of the CDGP consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines?
- Have the processes implemented to award CDGP funding complied with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines?