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Australian Social Services Minister Christian Porter, left, with Governor-General Peter Cosgrove

If Australian UFO enthusiasts hope to retain government money, they may need more proof of terrestrial activity.

The nation’s Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, has described having “a beam me up, Scotty” moment after learning his department had approved grants to the Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group.

The group has received A$6,000 (£3,400; $4,500) since 2013 under funding to support volunteers with disabilities.

Mr Porter has halted the payments to seek “more detail” about the group.

“I’m sure they are 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 did not seem to pass a common sense test,” Mr Porter said on the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Funds on hold

The New South Wales group has more than 800 members on Facebook, where it says it shares “news, information, support friends and network in UFO matters as well as related topics”.

When asked about apparent sightings in the region, Mr Porter said: “You tend to find a lot of sightings when you are funding UFO-sighting groups, I tend to think. But we will see what they are about.”

The Tuggerah Lakes UFO Group has been contacted for comment.

A person identified as a spokeswoman told the Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate: “We have elderly people we pick up and take to meetings, where we need projectors and microphones so everyone can see and hear what is going on.”

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