Nationals accused of playing toddlers for votes in preschool 'pork barrel'  date:2020-07-11 14:00:00  cat:national  English  Australia

topWords: electorates nationals preschools million belonging mitchell sarah snared fund cent geraghty fishers scooped toddlers preschool

More than three quarters of a fund to expand preschools in booming areas was spent in electorates the Nationals held or were battling to win before the 2019 state election, under a program overseen by National Party minister Sarah Mitchell.

The Sun Herald can reveal $3.6 million of the $4.6 million in grants awarded in 2018 − or 78 per cent − went to preschools in electorates belonging to the Nationals or its greatest electoral threat, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Nationals Minister Sarah Mitchell.

Nationals Minister Sarah Mitchell.Credit:Kate Geraghty

The pattern was replicated the following year when electorates belonging to those parties snared $5.3 million of the $8.3 million on offer, answers to questions on notice put by Labor show.

It means over the past two years they have scooped just under 70 per cent of the total $12.9 million funding pool from Start Strong Capital Works fund.

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