Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (13:44): I welcome local government councillors to the parliament. Amongst them is Councillor Henry Meskauskas who was a lead advocate for two CCTV projects in the Maitland area. The former government fully funded those projects last year to a tune of more than $180,000. The projects went through a robust selection process and were fully funded in the budget. Unfortunately, the Abbott government on election withdrew the funding and reallocated those grants to other electorates.
The member for Paterson opposite says that Maitland City Council and, indeed, the member for Hunter, should have reapplied under the new program. There is a difficulty with that. I learned only late last week that only certain local government areas or electorates are eligible to apply for the funding. What are the criteria: crime in the local area—no; the ability of a council to fund the project—no. The criterion is: you must have been one of the coalition promises made during the election campaign.
So we have money ripped away from communities after a robust project and the recommendations of the Attorney-General's Department. Money has been ripped back and put into coalition electorates instead. The criterion is: you must be an electorate which comes under the heading, 'Friends of the Abbott Government'. These things should be based on need, not on political partisanship.
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