Minister asks for audit of drought funding

Water Resources Minister David Littleproud has requested a forensic audit of drought assistance funding, after $1 million was given to a local council that does not need the money.

The Moyne Shire Council in southwest Victoria received the surprise cash injection last week, but says the area is not drought-affected and has no need for assistance.

Mr Littleproud has asked for an audit of the selection criteria, but has defended the process, saying it is predicated on drought mapping of each shire by the Bureau of Meteorology.

“And as of June 30, according to the bureau, 62 per cent of that shire was in drought,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“That triggered, along with 12 other shires who are also in drought, our response which the prime minister announced on Friday.

“I’ll be asking for a forensic audit by the bureau to make sure that data collection was right but that’s the science we predicate our decisions on.”

Mr Littleproud will tour drought-affected northern NSW and southern Queensland later this week, after pledging an extra $100 million for communities affected by the dry spell.

Ahead of his three-day trip, the minister is ramping up pressure on the states to build more dams during the dry spell.

“It’s time that the states start to partner with us,” Mr Littleproud said.

“They’ve been asleep at the wheel.”

AAP

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