Key posts

  • ‘A waste of taxpayer money’: think tank CEO on discretionary grants
  • Libs skewed industry grants to key seats
  • Climate risk over $31b in CBA loans
  • This morning’s key headlines at a glance
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‘A waste of taxpayer money’: think tank CEO on discretionary grants

Staying with the former government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative, and Danielle Wood – the chief executive of the Grattan Institute – has fronted the ABC’s RN Breakfast.

She was asked about David Crowe’s stories on the Coalition’s $828 million spending program around the time of the May election.

Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Here’s her take:

This is another example [of pork barrelling]. It’s vesting discretion either in the minister – or in this case, the prime minister – and it’s pretty clear that they’re bringing political considerations into play when they’re making these decisions.

What we’re actually seeing is the more politicians are able to do this, [the more they’re] getting away with it, we’re seeing a proliferation of these schemes. There’s more and more temptation to role out ever more creative grant programs in order to get that political advantage. Which in itself is a waste of taxpayer money.

For those who are unfamiliar, pork barrelling refers to politicians using taxpayer funds to win over votes (as opposed to distributing that money in a fair, evidence-based way).

Libs skewed industry grants to key seats

Liberal Party ministers and candidates used an $828 million spending program to target voters at the May election by promising cash grants to projects in key seats after former prime minister Scott Morrison approved a spate of decisions before polling day.

The former prime minister launched a spending blitz in March to fund 17 projects in the Modern Manufacturing Initiative with more than half the recipients located in Liberal and Nationals electorates and several others based in Labor electorates he was desperate to win.

Scott Morrison joined Gladys Liu to make one of the grant announcements in the seat of Chisholm, which was under threat and ultimately won by Labor.Credit:James Brickwood

But the rush to unveil the positive news during the election campaign meant hundreds of other companies were left in the dark about their funding applications and will only be told of a final decision after an internal review checks on every project.

Read the full story here.

Climate risk over $31b in CBA loans

More than $31 billion worth of Commonwealth Bank home loans are in areas exposed to increasing extreme weather events and another $14 billion in mortgages are in communities economically reliant on demand for coal, a climate analysis has found.

A CBA climate risk assessment of its home loan portfolio found about 38,000 properties, with mortgages equalling $11 billion, have been assessed as having a high risk of exposure to cyclones, while 56,000 properties ($19 billion) are at risk of floods and 5000 ($2 billion) at risk of fire.

The report found that over $30 billion in mortgages were exposed to increased physical risk due to climate factors.Credit:Getty

The analysis was part of the bank’s first climate report, which included an assessment of how the physical and transition risks of climate change could affect parts of its business based on financial projections to 2050.

More on this issue here.

This morning’s key headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, August 22. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • An $828 million spending program used to target voters at the May election has come under the spotlight. David Crowe writes that former prime minister Scott Morrison signed off on the funding announcements. More than half of recipients were located in electorates held by the Coalition. Meanwhile, current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will today receive legal advice on whether Morrison broke any laws over the secret ministerial saga.
  • Simone Fox Koob reports that more than $31 billion worth of Commonwealth Bank home loans are in areas increasingly exposed to extreme weather events. Another $14 billion worth of mortgages are in communities economically reliant on coal, according to the bank’s recent climate risk assessment.
  • In state news, NSW budget estimates begin this week. This means ministers and senior public servants will answer questions about government expenditure and performance. It comes as Alexandra Smith reports that the state’s top representative in London was outperformed by shortlisted candidates for other trade roles. And it’s been revealed that Sydney’s Star casino underpaid the NSW government almost $9 million in casino taxes.
  • And in Victoria, Rachel Eddie writes Liberals have questioned the transparency and accountability of independent campaigners preparing to field teal candidates for the upcoming state election. Victorians will head to the polls in November.
  • In international news, Singapore’s government has announced it will decriminalise sex between men. However, the country’s ban on same-sex marriage will continue.
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