Friday, June 21, 2024

New Bill to strengthen NSW grants framework

The NSW Government today passed a Bill aimed at strengthening the administration of government grants.

The Government Sector Finance Amendment (Grants) Bill 2023 will amend two separate Acts and one regulation.

NSW Premier, Chris Minns said the legislative amendments will bolster the existing framework for grants administration by effectively codifying the key principles for grants administration set out in the Grants Administration Guide, making certain grants information ‘open access information’ under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009launch, and requiring that minsters ensure every grant they approve is an efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of money, and achieves value for money.

“Today is an important day for the government and for the people of NSW – we have successfully passed our very first bill in parliament and it highlights our unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability and fairness,” said Mr Minns.

“During the election we promised to strengthen grants regulation and do everything in our power to put an end to pork-barrelling, and this bill has delivered on that commitment.

“Everyone in this state deserves a fair go, especially in trying times, and this bill will help ensure exactly that.”

The Grants Bill 2023 will amend the Government Sector Finance Act 2018 (NSW)launch (the GSF Act) to:

  • Require that a person who approves or declines a grant has regard to the 7 key principles to be applied in administering grants (robust planning and design, collaboration and partnership, proportionality, an outcomes orientation, achieving value with relevant money, governance and accountability, and probity and transparency) in doing so.
  • Require that a minister must not approve a grant unless satisfied that the grant would be an efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of money, and that it achieves value for money.

The Grants Bill will also amend the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009launch and the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2018launch to make certain grants information ‘open access information’, which must be made publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.

“The NSW community deserves transparent grants delivery of the highest standard, and this government will be able to deliver exactly that with the passing of our Grants Bill in parliament today,” said NSW Treasurer, Daniel Mookhey (pictured).

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a small grant for a new scoreboard at your local footy club or a multimillion-dollar grant program to re-build infrastructure after a flood – grants need to be delivered fairly and deliver value for the NSW taxpayer.”

NSW Special Minister of State, John Graham said a fairer and more transparent regulation of Government grants will mean better outcomes for the people of NSW, especially those at most vulnerable and who need it most.

“It is a proud moment knowing that the government’s first bill to be passed by parliament is one built on transparency and integrity,” Mr Graham said.

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