My thanks today to Barbara and Mick for drawing my attention to the front page of this week’s Blue Mountains Gazette where the Liberal Member for Macquarie Kerry Barlett is reported as announcing a $60,000 Commonwealth grant for CTV cameras and street lighting for Katoomba’s main streets. Such largesse is clearly going to be a feature of the election campaign as the Government tries to tap in to yet another traditionally state political issue.

John Howard’s Liberal Party puts a lot of faith in grass roots campaigning and the Prime Minister himself unveiled the Community Partnerships to Prevent Crime in May 2004 so there was something in the trough before the last election.

It was refilled this year so there were again funds for Mr Howard and his colleagues to say “a lot of crime is very local in nature and there is growing evidence of the effectiveness of locally organised crime prevention initiatives.”

Mr Howard himself re-launched the Liberal Party’s law-and-order campaign at the Nollamara Shopping Centre in the West Australian city of Stirling back in July announcing a grant of $85,000 to install “up to 10 modern digital TV cameras, control equipment and advisory signage throughout the shopping centre to deter crime and improve the capacity of law enforcement officers, who will work in partnership with the Council, to deal with any crime that does occur.”

Not that the Government’s largesse with the money of taxpayers is being limited to a commitment to fighting crime. This week’s spending announcements include $170 million additional funds over five years to create 25 Australian Hospital Nursing Schools; $330 million from March 2008 through to June 2012 for extra Veterans’ Affairs pension benefits; $43 million in competition payments to New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia progress in implementing water reforms.

You can keep track of spending promises at the Grass Roots Gravy Train in our special Crikey election section.