Canberra, May 19 (IANS) An Australian minister on Friday launched an urgent probe to determine how an alien enthusiast group received thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ funds.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter said he was unaware his department had approved nearly 6,000 Australian dollars ($4,500) worth of grants for the Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group on the New South Wales central coast since 2013, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported.
The funding was first provided by the opposition Labour government to assist with the cost of transporting volunteers with a disability.
“I’m sure they’re very nice people and there are lots of volunteers who are getting something out of it, but looking at it from my perspective, representing taxpayers, it didn’t seem to pass a common sense test,” said Porter, an avid sci-fi fan.
“I asked the department to hold the transmission of funds until they could give me a little more detail around what the group does.”
Porter said he would not be swayed by suggestions the Central Coast region was a hot spot for UFO sightings, the ABC said.
Official records show the department approved 2,645 Australian dollars for the UFO group in this year’s volunteer grant programme. The group received 2,994 Australian dollars in 2013.
The Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group has 822 members on Facebook and was created to “share news, information, support friends and network in UFO matters as well as related topics”.