Posted: 11:45 am on 22nd July 2013

Three weeks ago WasteWatch highlighted that the Queensland government spent $7.4m on a racetrack in Mackay in the lead up to the state election. The Ooralea racecourse is not a major hub for horse racing in Queensland, but it was in the marginal seat of then Racing Minister, Tim Mulherin.

As we were expecting, the vote-buying for the federal election was just about to begin.

The Australian has reported that the Rudd government has just embarked on a massive cash splash in marginal electorates in the run up to the coming federal election.

In a rush to spend as much money as possible in marginal seats, the Rudd government has given surf lifesaving clubs 72 hours to apply for funds for “shovel-ready” projects to be announced before the election campaign.

…Since the May budget, Anthony Albanese, now Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, has announced $3.2 m for two surf lifesaving buildings in Lyne, the NSW north coast seat of retiring independent MP Rob Oakeshott.

Grants have already been made to the Moruya surf club, in the NSW south coast electorate of Eden Monaro, and the Macmasters Beach and North Avoca clubs in Robertson, on the state’s central coast. Both are Labor-held marginal electorates.

…Surf Life Saving NSW has sought submissions from clubs across 11 marginal coastal electorates, bypassing Coalition-held surf hotspots held by frontbenchers Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Bronwyn Bishop, Luke Hartsuyker and Malcolm Turnbull.

It is as if they have given up trying to hide that this is just another obvious pork barrel. But I suppose when it works, why not try it again.

Mr Oakeshott, whose lobbying has secured $4.7m for surf clubs in his electorate since 2008, said surf clubs doubled as community halls for coastal towns.

After securing $2.7m of federal money to rebuild the Wauchope-Bonny Hills Surf Lifesaving Club, voters at the local polling booth awarded him 71 per cent of the two-candidate vote, a 5.5 per cent improvement on his performance at the 2007 state election.

Buckle your seatbelts, taxpayers, this is going to be one wasteful election ride.

Special thanks to one of our supporters who alerted us to this senseless waste of tax dollars.

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