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The incestuous circle of political slush funds just gets worse

Looking at the Federal government’s various grants schemes, it’s no wonder the Nats end up with a disproportionate number of seats in parliament. They have had a fortune to throw around. Regional areas have been literally showered with money from a variety of schemes. No doubt many worthy projects have been funded but some just leave you going WTF?

The largest single grant given under the Regional Growth Fund was $28.5 million to Rhinemetall Nioa Munitions Pty Ltd for the construction of a “projectile forging plant” to create large calibre military projectiles in Maryborough in Queensland.

“The forging and manufacturing facility will produce artillery shell cases and other munitions-related products for supply to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and for export to allied nations around the world.”

This was announced by Michael McCormack and member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien – the guy who just had a hissy fit and found himself Deputy Speaker, a role he may struggle with as he has only been in parliament for three and a half years.

The aim is to boost local employment though it is rather confusing as to just how many jobs it will provide.

The company says it “will create up to 100 direct, long term and highly skilled jobs in the Maryborough and Fraser Coast region.”

Llew O’Brien says that the project will “support 78 jobs through the construction phase, including 27 direct construction positions” and, once operational, “the plant is expected to create 100 direct manufacturing positions.”

In the same media release, Michael McCormack said the grant would “create an anticipated 24 direct jobs and support up to 100 ongoing roles once the project is complete.”

They use the words “up to” and “support” a lot which, along with the different figures they are quoting, makes it sound like they are just making up numbers as Adani did.

Some people may recognise the name Nioa – he’s Bob Katter’s son-in-law, the biggest gun importer in the country apparently.

His partner in this venture, German company Rhinemetall, generated sales of €6.148 billion in 2018, so they’re not short of a quid.

Aside from the $28.5 million gifted to them by the Federal government, the project was also given $7.5 million by the Queensland government from its “Jobs and Regional Growth Fund”.

On top of that, the Queensland government also forked out $9 million to upgrade energy supply and connection for the plant.

Mr O’Brien said the project would potentially add “more than $100 million in economic output, including $36 million within the Wide Bay region alone.”

So we have paid out $45 million to get a potential return of $36 million for the region?

Construction hasn’t even begun yet even though the grant was handed out a year ago. Nice little earner in the meantime.

Even if the 100 jobs actually eventuated (highly doubtful), that’s $450,000 of public money per job we have paid to two very successful companies, one of whom will take their profits offshore. It makes the subsidies to our lost car manufacturing industry seem miniscule.

As a business owner and employer in a regional area, I have never received any assistance from the government and I don’t expect any. Either the business is viable or it’s not.

But then again, I don’t have relatives in politics.

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  1. New England Cocky

    Q: Why did New England miss out on the Muckenzie Sportsgate vote buying grants and the Regional Development slush fund for buying votes?

    A: Because the COALition considered that the representative of the Nazianal$ in New England was certain to be re-elected after the Kiwi bye-election and martial breakdown due to adultery, alcoholism, amorality, bigotry, croneyism, deception, egoism and misogyny.

    These missed handouts confirm the Tony Windsor (Independent) observation that “only swinging seats get the government funding”. So why do agricultural enterprises still support the Nazianal$ that have sold their soul to the national and multinational mining corporations?

    Tamworth Women Supporting Adultery Support National$

  2. Terence Mills

    What is it with these people when it comes to spending our money ?

    I see that Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack’s office told Nationals MPs and senators and their staffers they could claim travel and accommodation expenses to attend the National party’s centenary knees-up in Melbourne in March under the guise of it being parliamentary business and thus legitimate.

    Fortunately the media (not News Corp) got onto this rort and now the National Party will have to pay their own way but be careful, they may try to coincide this celebration with an official party room meeting and still stick us with the bill. As the ABC have helpfully noted, they already have a scheduled party room meeting the week before in Canberra, during a parliamentary sitting week so there shouldn’t need to be another one in Melbourne.

    They say when it comes to National Party politicians, You need to count your fingers after shaking hands with them !

    I heard that Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan are stranded assets and not only are they talking up coalfired power stations but they are opposed to electric vehicles : as somebody queried the other day, where do these guys come from ? Answer 1955 !

  3. Baby Jewels

    What are the terms of this $28million grant to this private company? Is it a gift? Does it get paid back at some point, as in a loan? I’ve never understood how private enterprise can elicit our taxes.

  4. Andy56

    i think its time to end the country gerrymander. Its not good for country people to have twice the vote value as city people. The days of country majority are over, there are more of us in the cities. The current setup is a throw back to another era, it is no longer fit for purpose. Then the vote buying can be diminished somewhat.

  5. Kaye Lee

    My understanding is that all three of the grants are gifts. $45 million’s worth. And there never seems to be any follow-up to see if the jobs ever eventuate or whether the grants are value for money or any checking for conflict of interest – just as with the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages, another $200 million program slammed by the Auditor.

  6. wam

    “They use the words “up to” and “support” a lot which, along with the different figures they are quoting, makes it sound like they are just making up numbers as Adani did.”
    Wow, that is nearly there, kaye! Just tiny step into a north qld worker’s or unemployed;s mind when he/she/it believed adani job ‘estimates’ and was watching boobby’s haradans in townesville?
    Disingenuous loonies whinge “the Nats end up with a disproportionate number of seats in parliament.” but hey, kaye, what you believe is true.
    However, kaye, lord and the loonies the real truth is to win a seat requires >50% of preferences not <10%. Could it be truse the loonies are over represented in the senate?
    Alob, with di disappearing, Labor has a better chance of ridding politics of brandt than smirko but you could go for the quinella?

  7. Kaye Lee

    I do not share your obsession wam.

    You may find it irrelevant that Labor and the Greens got 43.74% of the first preference vote in the HoR compared to 41.44% for the four parties that make up the Coalition. Personally, I take it as an indication of the will of the people.

    As for the Greens being over-represented in the Senate, there is no way to gerrymander a senate vote. That there are 9 Greens there reflects the will of the people when it is a level playing field. Well kind of, the small states are over-represented.

  8. corvusboreus

    Yes, Albanese should concentrate more on attacking Adam Bandt than on winning any marginally held coalition HoR seats.
    That the 2019 ALP primary vote for Melbourne division was under 20% should not be seen as a deterrent
    All Albo needs to do is obsessively direct all his party’s energy into campaigning against a sitting member who has steadily increased his primary vote to the point of being within a single percent of winning an outright majority.
    Of course, to do so would contribute phuq all towards helping the ALP win governance (in fact it would probably harm their chances nationwide) but it might give a few brief moments of sour satisfaction to at least one raving bigot.

  9. ajogrady

    Trump is now following Australias lead in corrupting independent commissions, agencies, authorities and the judiciary with sycophantic foot soldiers of the L/NP. Who would have thought that that the Morrison government would be ahead of the curve over Trump and the Republicans.

  10. corvusboreus

    Truedat regarding the overloading of senators in the favour of the more modestly populated states.
    At the extreme ends, Tasmania packs a federal senator for every 42,917 tasmaniacs, whereas each NSW senator is spread across 628,667 nova-sud-cymrians (a 1/15 dilution of voting power).
    Of course, based on the percentage system that determines federal senate allocations, any reformative states levelling of the senatorial playing field to better reflect disparate populations would probably affect all political parties to varying extents.

  11. paul walter

    And how disapointing, the OTIS group. Every time Labor starts to get up, out come the scabs, led by Farrell

  12. Kaye Lee

    Fitzgibbon is always a scab too . If he truly cared about his coal-mining constituency he would be pointing out that new coal mines will cost them jobs.

    “Due to automation and remote control, many of the jobs created in the development of mining in the Galilee Basin are likely to be in major cities, rather than near to the mines themselves,” the report said.

    The Australia Institute discussion paper said the Hunter Valley in NSW would lose 9,000 jobs if the Galilee was developed, based on its modelling of the Wood Mackenzie analysis.

    In Queensland the Bowen Basin, which is partly insulated from an increase in the supply of thermal coal because it produces a large amount of the world’s coking coal, would lose 2,000 jobs, and the Surat Basin would shed 1,400 workers. The predicted job losses were compared to a scenario where the Galilee Basin was not developed by 2035.

  13. wam

    otis has one thing right labor and the greens is a toxic slogan.
    Labor has to headline the loonies’ confession of the stupid petulant boobby’s support for the rabbott then expose di, brandt and bppby’e caravan for $3m cash and dump on the loonies.

    Labor has to OWN renewables. get your act together to solve the working man’s dilemma f#ck the loonies and get a labor practical position, like no government money into coal fired station, that wedges the loonies

    FFS albo stick to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming ie something we can understand.
    ps spot on kay
    in 2013 the monkey was an arsehole on tv slipping the knife imto gillard when she smacked his arse.

  14. corvusboreus

    Otis group.
    In the midst of sports rorts and fraudulently taylored documents, the Murdoch press has reported that some dinosaurs from the right fringe faction of the ALP have formed a lunch club where they meet to sing the praises of coal.
    Based on this, Scott from marketing has bleated that ‘the opposition leader has some explaining to do’.
    Phuxake straya.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of the Carmichael mine, they still aren’t doing their bit to get started. As of the end of January…..

    The interface agreement with the Whitsunday Council has not had its terms finalised.

    They do not have “Accreditation as a Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) and Rolling Stock Operator (RSO)” yet despite Stage 1 construction and Stage 2 commissioning of rollingstock having a target date of 31 July 2019.

    They also still haven’t come to a royalties agreement – revised target date November 30, 2019.

    wam, right now, I think Labor and coal is a far more toxic slogan.

  16. corvusboreus

    Speaking of my ex-wife….

  17. wam

    not in the same league, kaye, but my family group is different from yours(what does your old man think of the new leader???) the election is far enough away to resolve coal. Clearly, I am no nostra, but labor will not win without dumping the loonies.

  18. corvusboreus

    If the ‘arsehole monkey loonies’ and the ALP could stop self-indulgently hate-raping each other long enough to formulate some kind of semi-coherent mutual narrative, then the coalition of 4 parties that currently rules this land might actually might have a serious problem (apart from the bleeding obvious one of our rapidly fracturing habitat and boiling biosphere).
    Meanwhile, whilst the likes of wam continue to rehash stale sledges and cut and paste their repetitious exhortations for ‘Albo’ to go hard against ‘Brandt’ (aka ‘loonie monkey arsehole’), the dominant 4 party coalition will continue to bend us over a barrel and bugger us bloody (smirking all the while).
    I am sick and tired of the constant intrusions of demented crap.

  19. Matters Not

    corvusboreus re:

    the coalition of 4 parties that currently rules this land

    Perhaps there’s more in number? There’s the Liberal Party, the National Party, the Liberal National Party (from Queensland), Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Centre Alliance, Katter’s Australian Party and maybe the Jacqui Lambie Network. That these political parties can reach settlements when it really matters demonstrate that politics is the art of the possible. But don’t tell that to some from Labor. Would ruin their day.

  20. paul walter

    I think the Labor right faction is the problem (which is not to say the Greens don’t have a percentage of colonically-irrigated flakes). Every time Labor starts to become Labor again, which means it and the Greens could get on better, the soc con dinosaurs reappear, as if to deliberately prevent any move to rationality.

    I wonder at who pulls strings in the background, for people to embark on treachery of such intensity.

    They are so much more like the Nats nutters than real Labor They are worse; they seem actually like social fascist Opus Dei DLP, much closer to crackpots like Abbott or Miranda Devine than Labor people.

  21. Matters Not

    All political parties are coalitions. Composed of ‘factions’. And if you dig deeper, there’s divisions within those factions. Indeed, if there’s X number of individuals within any group, then there will be X constructions of reality if one explores the almost infinite possibilities. That should come as no surprise as it’s been ‘known’ (and accepted) for decades and decades – and that applies even within what might seem like homogenous religious groups.

    While the Nationals hate the Liberals and the Nationals loathe each other, they’re smart enough to know that compromises brings rewards to each and all. Some Labor members can’t seem to grasp that.

  22. paul walter

    MN, I wonder…

    I a not “after” your post, on the contrary I think it moves things along, so I respond with it in mind.

    I don’t see many signs of compromise based on a thought out consideration of the facts with most of the Nats, or the neolibs or Labor Right, or even many Greens, although I believe Labor in general and the rational part of the Greens, on the whole, are closer to a basic understanding, a holistic heuristic allowing of an appreciation of reality and its beauty and efficacy, being less obsessed with the sort of materialism and self-obsessed lust for power, control and prestige, the philosophical “lack” that characterises the rest.

    And that is just an observation, not an argument for some sort of Platonist vanguardism or elitism.

    But the reactionaries are best summed up in the old adage, “Ignorant in their arrogance; Arrogant in their ignorance”.

  23. corvusboreus

    Matters Not,
    The 4th party I was referring to is the ‘Country Liberal Party’ from the Northern Territory.
    But further your comment re ‘the art of the possible’, it is noteworthy that the last time Labor managed to win governance, it was through Julia Gillard skilfully negotiating agreements with a green, two ex-nat turned indis, and one very mad Katter.
    Ideologically impure as this arrangement may have been, it still resulted in a government that managed to pass an impressive quantity of positive legislation.

  24. king1394

    I wish the Greens would start working hard on National Party and Qld NLP seats. People in those electorates are afraid of Labor, but many have strong opinions about caring for the environment. The Liberals stay out of the regions, in favour of the far right, Perhaps Labor would benefit from putting less effort into redneck seats themselves, and allow the more sophisticated townies, and the new upsurge of people who move there to retire in the sun and/or to seek a more environmental lifestyle to vote with their hearts. Anyone visiting the tourism spots on the coast and in the hinterland would be aware that there is a strong alternative lifestyle population in those areas, whose ‘natural’ preference is for Green party policies

  25. corvusboreus

    king 1394,
    In NSW the Greens are, how should I put this, somewhat justly viewed as an extra-flaky pack of fool-flavoured biscuits.
    They drove their most effective rural representative out of the party by employing otherwise slanderous accusation under the cover of parliamentary privilege regarding a matter upon which both police and party commissioned internal investigation had found insufficient merit for further action.
    Simultaneously, they chose to offer a candidate who endorsed bestiality and necrophilia in an ‘edgy’ uni publication.

    2 observational anecdotes:
    1) Last time I visited the Nandewar area where fracking is a happening thing, non-party affiliated ‘lock the gate’ signs and stickers were fairly thick on the ground, whereas greens printed ‘no csg’ & ‘farms not coal’ ones were a comparative rarity.
    2) A well respected personal and professional acquaintance who gained a seat on local government under a Greens ticket instead chose to campaign as an independent when running for the local seat in the last state election (she finished a solid 2nd in a lifelong Nationals seat).

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