Environment Minister Ryan Smith.
Environmental groups that do not exist have been promised funding by the Napthine government ahead of the state election.

Environment Minister Ryan Smith and Yan Yean Liberal candidate Sam Ozturk announced last week that eight Landcare groups in one of the state's most marginal seats would receive $160,000 if the Coalition was re-elected.

But Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen and District Landcare, who were promised $15,000 each, do not exist.

The blunder has drawn criticism from Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber, who said the Coalition and Labor had no environmental policies.

"Ryan Smith has been the missing-in-action Environment Minister for the past four years. I knew he was out of touch on the environment, but this is something else," he said.

In a press release issued on Friday, Mr Smith said the Landcare groups would use the money to "improve the health of the local environment".

"Working in partnership with volunteer groups such as those in the Yan Yean area, is imperative to protecting and enhancing our environment."

The announcement is part of a $12 million Coalition promise to support Landcare groups in Melbourne's urban and peri-urban areas over three years. The government also pledged $40,000 for Nillumbik Landcare Network for project works in the Yan Yean region.

A Nillumbik Shire Council spokeswoman said they were not aware of the existence of Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen Landcare groups. It is understood that council was not consulted about the plan.

They are not included on a list of Landcare groups on the council's website, which says the environmental groups organise working bees, field days and social events.

"Landcare groups work together to protect and enhance natural resources on private land for the benefit of the whole community."

The environment has been absent as an issue during the major party's election campaigns. On Tuesday Labor quietly released its environment policy, without a press release or any fanfare.

A spokeswoman for Mr Smith confirmed that an error had occurred, but said the matter had "already been resolved and the money reallocated".

Yan Yean is held by Labor MP Danielle Green, but a redistribution of boundaries means it is notionally held by the Liberals by just 0.1 per cent.

theage.com.ay 25 Nov 2014

Another scam that the government has been caught out in - giving money for mates.