The federal government made a list of its 20 top marginal seats for a $660 million commuter car park fund condemned by a scathing audit-general’s report.
The coalition scheme in the lead up to the 2019 election allocated money to electorates before projects were finalised, the Australian National Audit Office confirmed.
Treasury pushed for an open and competitive tender but the infrastructure department rejected this approach, senior ANAO official Brian Boyd told a Senate committee on Monday.
The office of then-urban infrastructure minister, Alan Tudge, started with a “top 20 marginals” list.
Targeted electorates were then asked if they had projects to put forward for funding.
Some of the canvassing was done by the prime minister’s office, the inquiry heard.
One of the electorates canvassed didn’t have a railway station in it.
“To some extent, it appeared there was almost like there was a menu,” Mr Boyd said.
“In quite a number of cases they would have ‘here’s the electorate, here’s the project, here’s the dollars’ but in some cases they didn’t yet have the project identified.”
None of the 47 commuter car park sites promised by at the 2019 election was selected by the infrastructure department, an earlier report showed.
By the end of March this year, just two out of 44 selected for funding had been built.
Nearly two-thirds of the sites selected were in Melbourne, despite Sydney being identified as having the most congested roads in the country.
Of the sites, 77 per cent were in coalition-held seats.
The hearing continues.