INDEPENDENT NEWS

Taxpayer Funded Union Slush Fund Criticised

Published: Tue 21 Aug 2001 12:32 AM
National MP Murray McCully has criticised over $770,000 in taxpayer funded grants to trade unions, describing it as "a taxpayer funded trade union slush-fund".
Releasing an answer to a Parliamentary question to the Minister of Labour, Mr McCully said $1,048,766 in grants had been awarded in the past few months from the Employment Relations Education Contestable Fund. The largest grant is $358,000 to the CTU with other major grants to key Labour Party affiliate the Engineers Union ($123,000), the PSA ($99,000), Finsec ($60,000) and the Dairy Workers Union ($45,000).
"The Government has cunningly covered its back by making a $250,000 grant to the Employers Federation. But this will do little to obscure the huge generosity which is being shown to its political allies in the trade unions.
"Bearing in mind that these grants relate only to this year, clearly we will see the thick end of a million dollars each year being channeled to union organisations courtesy of the nations taxpayers.
"This is not an entirely unprecedented arrangement. The last Labour Government, through both the Trade Union Incentives Trust and the Trade Union Education Authority funneled millions of dollars of public money into trade union hands to purchase computer equipment which underpinned Labour Party campaign organisations in marginal seats.
"The terms of the grants are so loose as to leave little requirement for accountability. For example, the $358,000 grant to the CTU "to enhance the CTU's ability to provide relevant education and training to youth, built around the new employment legislation and the role of unions in society by employing a staff member to develop curriculum and resources and deliver training to union speakers, young union members and delegates and union organisers working with young people", looks very much like a blank cheque to me," Mr McCully said.
"Clearly this is payback time for the Government's union mates", he said.
Ends

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