Statement on bushfire funding rorts

State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin MP has issued a statement on the NSW Auditor-General's findings that bushfire funding grants were rorted to favour Coalition seats at the expense of Tenterfield Shire in her Labor-held electorate.

THE people of Tenterfield would be justified in feeling ripped off by the NSW

Government, as details of the bushfire grants rort continue to come out.

The Auditor General’s report into the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery grants has

exposed the lack of integrity, guidelines and transparency, which saw LGAs in Labor

held electorates miss out on the first round of grants.

The report found former Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro inserted

himself into the grants process, and added a criteria that projects had to be for a

minimum of one million dollars. This excluded projects from councils in Labor-held


It is unconscionable for a party leader to be pork barrelling with disaster relief


John Barilaro has said he wore the nickname Pork Barilaro with pride because his

focus was on getting a fair share for regional communities.

Well the regional community of Tenterfield wouldn’t see it that way.

How could Mr Barilaro deny bushfire recovery funding to Tenterfield, when 60

Per cent of the LGA was burnt in fires that raged for more than five months?

I am yet to hear a National Party member condemn the behaviour of the former

leader or the lack of integrity and transparency detailed in the Auditor General’s


The Tenterfield Mayor Bronwyn Petrie is calling for reparations and this is a

reasonable request as Tenterfield Council has not had a fair go throughout this

process. I know they have some good shovel-ready projects ready to go.

Across our region we have suffered many natural disasters and I have been on the

front foot pushing for relief funding.

I do so with the expectation that government funding will be delivered with integrity,

transparency and accountability to support the recovery of all communities.

FLASHBACK: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and then Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott MP visited Drake to award Premier’s Citations to Rural Fire Service firefighters and other frontline responders for their heroic service during the Black Summer bushfire season.