The Abbott Government’s decision to steal Maitland’s CCTV and Singleton’s secure fencing funding will be formally investigated.

The Auditor-General has announced a lengthy investigation into the program, Government’s Safer Streets Program which replaced the scheme Labor had established in government.

“The Abbott Government allocated almost $20 million of taxpayer money to organisations hand-picked by the Liberal Party in the lead up to the 2013 election,” said Mr Fitzgibbon.

“There was no open tender, the only eligibility criteria was your vote.

“The Abbott Government gutted the National Crime Prevention Fund, established by the previous Labor Government, which allocated funding for CCTV systems in Rutherford and Maitland and also the installation of fencing and gates across Howe Park in Singleton.

“This program was supposed to help keep communities safe from crime and keep at risk young people on the straight and narrow – but it seems the Abbott Government is more interested in maximising the Coalition’s political prospects.

“Coming on top of alleged rorting in the Community Development Grants program, it’s beginning to look like the Abbott Government thinks the public purse can be abused for its own political purposes.”

The Auditor-General has advised there are serious questions to answer about the Safer Streets Program, including:

• the eligibility criteria and selection process used to award funding;

• whether funds spent under the program have been properly targeted at projects to prevent, detect and deter crime;

• whether this represents value for money for the taxpayer; and

• the distribution of funding including in electorate terms.

“I call on Tony Abbott and the Justice Minister Michael Keenen to confirm that the Government will fully cooperate with the Auditor-General’s important investigation”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“I won’t rest until Maitland and Singleton Council’s funding is restored”

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