22 Jun 2023

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward will introduce a bill into Parliament today to provide for greater transparency and accountability of NSW Government grants.

The Government Sector Finance Amendment (Grants) Bill 2023 will seek to tighten rules to ensure that government grants are administered in an efficient, effective, economical, and ethical manner.

“Money administered by the government isn’t the government's money, it's taxpayer money. I believe in government transparency and accountability and the bill I seek to introduce addresses these fundamental principles head-on,” Mr Ward said.

“Earlier in the year, I welcomed NSW Government reforms with respect to how grants would be administered by the government. However, the key flaw with this new framework is that there was no express penalty for breach or non-compliance.

“Given how seriously I take the administration of government funds, I believe any deliberate breach of the new framework by a Minister should be a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

“If a Minister is complying with the new framework, then no Minister should have any concern with this proposal.  

“The other component of this bill seeks to require a Minister to notify a local MP when awarding grants in their electorate.

“During my time in the Ministry, I always treated local MPs with respect and advised them if funding was coming to their constituency.

“Sadly, this isn’t common practice, but I think it’s the right and professional thing to do.

“You wouldn’t think legislation was required for good manners, but this provision is about respecting the electorate who has elected their local MP and ensuring the government treats every electorate with respect,” Mr Ward said.

This bill will be second-read today at around 10:30 AM in the Legislative Assembly.