(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

The government maladministration of the "national commuter car park fund" -- the multi-hundred-million-dollar rort aimed at saving Melbourne Liberal seats and securing Labor marginals in the 2019 election -- is the perfect demonstration of why adherence to good process in spending taxpayer money isn't just some arcane bureaucratic box-ticking but has direct consequences for taxpayers.

The 47 car parks funded under the program were all chosen by Scott Morrison and Alan Tudge on the advice of MPs, other ministers or state Liberal counterparts -- not a single recommendation by the Department of Infrastructure made it into their final list, most of which was funded before the election was called in 2019. As if in disgust at the result, the Department of Infrastructure simply didn't bother doing a lot of the basic elements of good administration around the program, the auditor-general's report shows.

There were no evaluation plan or performance indicators developed for the projects. No records were properly kept, despite the department's internal auditors complaining about lack of proper record-keeping. ("As at December 2020, there were 1.3 million records maintained across some 179,000 sub-folders within the Infrastructure Investment Division’s G Drive folder.") When Tudge's office asked for briefing on the projects, the department said it didn't have much information to offer.