Goulburn and district hasn't secured any funding in the latest round of the State's My Community Projects grants announced on Friday.
Instead, two Moss Vale projects, including one to upgrade a car park at the town's golf club, have secured the only funds dished out in the Goulburn electorate.
It has prompted Bungonia Progress Association president Bill Dobbie to brand the process as "absolutely flawed."
"I'm shocked that not one Goulburn Mulwaree project got up," he said.
"I don't think our State MPs have thought about the methodology very well. Either that or they've buckled under to the public service."
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Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman announced on Friday that Moss Vale Golf Club would receive $162,730 to improve its car park and lighting for safer day and night time usage.
Moss Vale High School was also given $68,690 for a community cafe for students to use their skills and cater for events.
But 14 projects in Goulburn Mulwaree missed out, including several put forward by the council. One of these requested $113,437 for a new 24-seat community bus, while another asked for $96,513 for a new toilet block with disabled access at the Bungonia Crown reserve.
The Crescent School's request for $197,405 for a sensory shed, incorporating an all abilities play and learning space, was also overlooked. It came in third behind the Moss Vale works, with 1166 points. In addition, Endeavour Industries' $30,500 bid to replace a document shredder was denied.
The State Government made available $24 million for projects valued between $20,000 and $200,000 under the program.
I don't think our State MPs have thought about the methodology very well. Either that or they've buckled under to the public service.Bill Dobbie
Councils and community groups had to lodge bids and the public was asked to vote, via Service NSW, for the ones they preferred. Voting was open for one month until August 15.
A government panel assessed more than 1800 applications and factored in the public vote. People were asked to rank preferences and points were awarded accordingly.
"My Community Project captured the imagination of the community with people putting a lot of work into their ideas and it was great to see people get behind the projects that matter to them," Mrs Tuckerman said.
Acting Treasurer Damien Tudehope described the process as "a great example of grassroots democracy."
But Mr Dobbie doubts that's the case.
He said he was "absolutely flabbergasted" when he saw the results on the government website.
"I haven't seen too many people in a wheelchair playing golf," Mr Dobbie quipped.
"The State Government is essentially funding a commercial activity."
The Club pitched the project as necessary to lure more tournaments and functions to what it described as a "major community venue."
But Mr Dobbie said the voting process was flawed. Whereas a club had more chance of drumming up votes from members, Bungonia was always going to struggle to gain support with its low population.
"The methodology was ridiculous," he said.
"We tried to get as many people to vote as we could but it was difficult. It's difficult for older people who aren't computer savvy to get on to the Service NSW website and vote. I had to take one lady down to the office myself."
Mr Dobbie said there were many worthy projects in the council area that missed out.
At Bungonia, the community has been trying to secure funding for several years to replace 'long drop' toilets in the Crown reserve that were condemned by the council last December. Mr Dobbie said while it wasn't the Progress Association's role to secure funding, it saw new amenities as a priority. The council applied for the My Community funds on the village's behalf
"There is not one public toilet between Marulan and the south coast for people using Main Road 92," he said.
The Association will now seek other funding sources.
Methodology raises questions
Meantime, council general manager Warwick Bennett said the process was a new one, designed and implemented by the government.
"The people have spoken and chosen their top priorities," he said.
"The council is of course disappointed none of our projects or other projects in Goulburn Mulwaree were successful, but accept the decision of the community."
Mrs Tuckerman did not directly answer a question on whether she thought the process was fair.
However, in a statement, she said her office received a number of enquiries regarding accessibility and online registration.
"Accessibility and online registration issues raised through the office were fed back to the Treasury's office. This included the concerns around less populated areas within the electorate being disadvantaged by the voting system," Mrs Tuckerman said.
"Being the first time this program was run there were some problems, but overall I am delighted by the community interest and the hard work put in by applicants."
She said the program enabled people to get behind projects and, "in the spirit of democracy," vote for their favourite ones. She thanked those who put the effort into doing so.
Mrs Tuckerman encouraged anyone who wanted to provide feedback to contact her office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 4822 6444.
She also reminded groups that the Community Building Partnership Program was now open for organisations seeking funding for infrastructure, equipment or refurbishment. More information can be obtained through her office.
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