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National Audit Office advises 43% of successful Federal Government sports fund projects were ineligible
43% of projects funded under the Federal Government’s controversial Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program were ineligible when agreements were signed, according to officials from the Australian National Audit Office.
In evidence from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) presented today to the Senate inquiry into the Program, officials advised that Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office made direct and indirect representations to then Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie's office - revealing that the Prime Minister’s office was more heavily involved in the funding allocations than has been admitted to date.
ANAO officials also revealed the Prime Minister’s office made “direct” representations about which projects to fund, and the Liberal National Party of Queensland submitted a wish-list of projects in a key marginal seat.
In a scathing report released last month, the ANAO found the $100 million infrastructure program was targeted at marginal or Coalition target electorates, after Senator McKenzie departed from Sport Australia’s assessment to select projects from spreadsheets colour-coded by electorate.
Before McKenzie resigned on 2nd February over a conflict of interest in one grant, she and Prime Minister Morrison had said no ineligible projects were funded.
However, speaking today, Brian Boyd, the ANAO Performance Audit Services Group Executive Director, told the Senate inquiry “that’s not what we found”.
Boyd went on to advise that more than 40% of the projects - 290 projects in total - were ineligible for funding at the time agreements were signed, mostly because many sporting clubs had started work - or even finished projects - before their approval by the Federal Government.
He explained this meant that no projects that had been assessed as ineligible by Sport Australia were granted funding but that ineligible projects were funded due to Senator McKenzie accepting late applications and because circumstances changed between the assessment and the time that funding agreements were concluded.
Boyd also revealed the Queensland LNP sent Senator McKenzie a list of projects it was “fighting for” in the Labor-held seat of Longman, one of several seats picked up by the Coalition to secure re-election in May 2019.
Image: The popular Coledale Waves Soccer Club missed out on funds from the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program. Courtesy of Coledale Waves Soccer Club/Facebook.
5th February 2020 - Sport Australia confirm Robert Dalton as acting Chief Executive
4th February 2020 - Kate Palmer departs Chief Executive role at Sport Australia
2nd February 2020 - New multi-million dollar Northam Aquatic Facility opens
23rd January 2020 - ‘Sports rorts’ review to be assessed by Prime Minister’s department
22nd January 2020 - More than $1 million in sport grants given to nine clubs linked to Coalition MPs
11th November 2019 - Marginal electorates benefit under ‘dodgy’ Federal Government sport grant scheme
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