Liberal candidate Dean Young announced an election grant for the Tasmanian volleyball club he was involved with

A Tasmanian Liberal candidate announced a $100,000 taxpayer-funded election grant for a volleyball club he was involved with, the ABC can reveal.

Tasmania’s Liberal government has been facing growing allegations of pork-barrelling for funding promises made to sporting clubs and organizations during last year’s state election.

During the campaign, Liberal candidates requested money under the Local Community Facilities Fund on behalf of organizations, and recipients were decided internally by Liberal Party members.

One was awarded to the Tasmania Echidnas Volleyball Club, announced by then-Liberal candidate and now-Franklin MHA Dean Young.

Mr. Young had been the vice-president of the Echidnas until just prior to the campaign.

He was also the vice-president of Volleyball Tasmania and announced the decision to award the Echidnas grant in the final days of the campaign to Volleyball Tasmania’s president Stephen Ibbott.

Mr. Young has since succeeded Mr. Ibbott as the organization’s president.

A week after the election campaign, Mr. Ibbott wrote in his president’s report following the AGM that “I would … like to thank my vice president Dean Young, who has in a short time broadened VTAS professional networks and taken important steps in government circles to lay the solid foundation required to launch us into a new phase of development”.

Woman stands with her arms folded in front of a tree.
Cassy O’Connor says the only reason the club received the grant was because “a Liberal candidate was their vice president”.(ABC News: Luke Bowden )

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor does not begrudge the club the funding but said others missed out.

“We’re talking about $100,000 of public money that went to a sporting organization, and the only reason they received that money was because a Liberal candidate was their vice-president,” Ms O’Connor said.

“The issue here is for all those sporting organizations who would also have had a legitimate claim for support but who were never made an offer because they weren’t connected to a Liberal party candidate.”

Mr. Young was contacted for comment.

He is the ninth Tasmanian government MP to be linked to groups that received funding in a scheme criticized as “electoral bribery”.

“It tells us everything that we need to know about the Local Community Facilities Fund to know that nine of the elected Liberals were in a position to promise cash to an organization they were connected to,” Ms O’Connor said.

Questions raised about the integrity of the process

The funding commitment was announced during the last state election campaign by Mr. Young on his candidate’s Facebook page.

The government said announcing promises that way and then delivering the money was transparent, fair and democratic.

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