Pork barrelling



Bushfire recovery grants

The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) program was created after the 2019–20 bushfires. It is co-funded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments. This audit assessed how effectively the Department of Regional NSW and Resilience NSW administered rounds one and two of the BLER program.

New politics: preventing pork-barrelling

Pork-barrelling – misusing public money for political gain – is common in Australia. This report argues that while pork-barrelling may be legally grey, it is not good government. It wastes taxpayers’ money, undermines public trust in Australia's political leaders and institutions, and promotes a corrupt...

Award of funding under the Building Better Regions Fund

The objective of the audit was to assess whether the award of funding under the Building Better Regions Fund was effective as well as being consistent with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines.

Roundabouts, overpasses, and carparks: hauling the federal government back to its proper role in transport projects

Politicians are not supposed to spend public money to promote their private interest, including their private political advantage. This paper argues that avoiding such conflicts of interest would be more straightforward if the federal government stuck to its national role, and did its due diligence...

The administration and expenditure of funding under the Urban Congestion Fund

This report finds that since its establishment in the 2018-19 Budget, the Urban Congestion Fund (UCF), and the Commuter Car Park Fund (CCPF) as a program within the UCF, have been administered without any proper administrative framework or oversight, and have been used as vehicles...
Discussion paper

Grants with ministerial discretion: distribution analysis

This analysis, from the Australia Institute’s Democracy and Accountability Program, reveals that $3.9 billion spent by federal grants programs with ministerial discretion has clearly favoured marginal Coalition seats in particular, at the expense of safe Labor seats and, to a lesser extent, safe Coalition seats.

Administration of commuter car park projects within the Urban Congestion Fund

The objective of this audit was to assess the effectiveness of the administration of the commuter car park projects within the Urban Congestion Fund. The audit finds that the approach to identifying and selecting commuter car park projects for funding commitment was not appropriate, as...

Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants: final report

This inquiry was initiated following evidence that Senator Bridget McKenzie, the former Federal Sports Minister, had intervened in grant allocation decisions regarding the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant program in order to gain political advantage for Coalition candidates and members in the 2019 federal election.

Award of funding under the Community Sport Infrastructure Program

The objective of the audit was to assess whether the award of funding under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program was informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice.

Wrong way, go back: rorting road funds

A new report says billions of dollars has been squandered in the last decade on road projects in marginal electorates to the detriment of our cities – where the infrastructure is actually needed. The report, from the Grattan Institute, says many of the projects went...
Audio interview

Unprecedented infrastructure spending wasted on pork barrelling, report finds

Too much taxpayer money has been funnelled into questionable infrastructure projects in marginal electorates, rather than into places where it is needed.

Roads to riches: better transport investment

Governments have spent unprecedented sums on transport infrastructure in the last decade. But mostly, they have not spent it wisely. Some of the additional spending can be attributed to unusual events such as the mining boom, the Global Financial Crisis and the Queensland floods. But...
Conference paper

Telecommunication infrastructure and pork barrel politics? An Investigation of the National Broadband Network early rollout and voting behaviour in Australia

This paper focuses on telecommunication infrastructure as the backbone of a fast-growing digital economy, and raises important questions about the early National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia.

Bringing home the bacon: An empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics

Which electorates receive targeted funding, and does targeted funding swing votes? To answer these questions, the author analyzes four discretionary programs funded by the Australian federal government during the 2001-2004 election cycle. Controlling for relevant demographic characteristics of the electorate, those electorates held by the...

Sweet and sour pork barrelling: the case of Queensland sugar

The Queensland sugar industry is once again pleading for more government assistance. Alex Robson argues that such assistance does more harm than good and that the best course of action may be to abandon the notion of targeted regional assistance altogether.