NSW govt forced to produce fire grant docs

·2-min read

The NSW government has been ordered to hand over documents detailing how millions in bushfire relief was doled out after it emerged more than 98 per cent of it went to coalition-held seats.

A parliamentary inquiry into the government's grants programs reopened for submissions earlier this month after revelations most of a $177 million bushfire relief fund was allocated to projects in electorates held by the Liberal or National parties.

The Labor seat of the Blue Mountains and other electorates held by the Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party have so far missed out.

Despite objections from the government members and Christian Democrat Fred Nile, a motion requiring the papers be handed over passed in the Upper House on Wednesday night.

But Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the move will actually hinder money reaching non-coalition seats by delaying the next round of relief.

Mr Barilaro previous told the parliamentary inquiry there was still another $250 million to be allocated under the program, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.

"You would never mark a student's work 25 minutes into an hour long exam, so how can you jump to conclusions when only 40 per cent of (grant) funding has been allocated," he wrote in a submission.

He added that the round of funding was focused on destroyed buildings and 90 per cent of buildings damaged in the bushfires were in coalition seats.

Mr Barilaro said Labor and the Greens were weighing down bureaucrats, meaning further funding would be delayed.

"They are fixated and obsessed with this political witch hunt and they do not care about the bushfire victims who get hurt again in the process," he said in a statement on Thursday.

But Greens MLC David Shoebridge, also the chair of the grants parliamentary inquiry, said the Berejiklian government was trying to hide the politicisation of disaster relief.

"The NSW coalition has form when it comes to using grants schemes to deliver deliberate political advantage," he said.

"It was a new low for the coalition to threaten to delay the processing of the next round of bushfire grants if the parliament ordered them to hand over the documents for the first, highly politicised, round of bushfire grants."

The documents are to be produced to the Upper House within 21 days.