Members of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party have launched a fresh attack on outgoing Dubbo MP Troy Grant, accusing him of lying and misleading people in regional NSW.
Orange MP Philip Donato and his party colleague Robert Borsak said Mr Grant was wrong in saying that the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party had opposed the Restart NSW Fund and also that the state government spent the mandated 30 per cent funds on infrastructure in regional areas.
“Mr Grant is trying to sell the government with his best lies,” Mr Donato alleged.
“Mr Grant and the National Party are misleading people, especially those in regional areas.
“The Auditor General’s report is completely independent and it clearly states that regional NSW is not getting 30 per cent of the Restart NSW Fund,” he said.
Fairfax Media approached Mr Grant for his response, but his office said he had no comment to make on these allegations.
On Friday, Fairfax Media reported a war of words between Mr Grant and Mr Donato over spending of the Restart NSW Fund in regional areas.
The debate began after NSW Labor leader Michael Daley cited the Auditor General’s report in NSW Parliament saying the state government spent only 17 per cent of funds in 2017-18, 14 per cent in 2016-17, 10 per cent in 2015-16 and 25 per cent in 2014-15 from the Restart NSW fund in regional areas.
Mr Grant, who will retire from politics at the 2019 state election, defended his government’s position and said the NSW government was honouring its funding commitment with ongoing and unprecedented investment in regional areas.
“This fund was opposed by the NSW Labor Party and the Shooters Party, so it is hypocritical to oppose the fund with one breath and then demand faster payments from the fund with another,” Mr Grant said on Friday.
Mr Borsak, a member of the NSW Legislative Council, hit back saying the Hansard record showed that the Restart NSW Bill was passed unanimously.
“It is clear from the Hansard record that the Shooters Fishers and Farmers did not vote against this legislation when it came to the house. In fact, we were the originators of the concept of allocating 30 per cent of the proceeds of assets sale revenues to the bush,” Mr Borsak said.
“The concept originated during discussions that Robert Brown [another member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party and also a member of the NSW Legislative Council] and I had with then treasurer Michael Baird.
“We even went so far as to suggest that it be administered by a panel headed up by a chairman from regional NSW with one local government representative and a union representative from the United Services Union,” Mr Borsak said.
Mr Borsak said the Nationals were bereft of ideas and running scared.
“They are of course claiming credit for the concept and of the idea and the commitment. As always, Nationals are lying again. They will say anything to try and save their political skins.”