In testimony today at the Senate Inquiry into the Administration of Sports Grants, affected sports clubs and local governments have called on the Morrison government to fund their deserving projects that missed out because of the Coalition’s pork-barrelling.
Greens Senator Janet Rice has called on the Senate to pass the Greens’ Level Playing Field Bill, empowering Sport Australia to fund the clubs whose applications were recommended under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program, but were not funded under the Coalitions' rorts.
Quotes attributable to Senator Janet Rice, Greens Sports spokesperson:
“All the affected clubs and local governments told the committee today that the Prime Minister needs to put this right and fund the deserving sports clubs that were robbed because of the government’s pork-barrelling.
“When asked what Federal funding would mean to their club, Mr Nick Cater noted that the North Shore Country Club and Residents Association’s project was “shovel-ready”, and would provide “local jobs for local trades” with work that could “start immediately.” He added that funding “would be transformational” to the community.
“This is exactly what my Level Playing Field Bill calls on the Morrison government to do.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, sports clubs are now in more need of support. Most of the projects are shovel-ready, would use local labour, and have already been assessed as meritorious by Sport Australia. This Bill will benefit these community sports groups by providing much-needed and immediate investment stimulus in the face of the pandemic.
“Many of the clubs put in hundreds of hours of volunteer time to submit applications to a process that was systemically unfair and without integrity. Local governments are expected by their ratepayers to have transparent and fully accountable grants processes, and testimony we heard today showed the disappointment that the federal government does not hold itself to the same standards.
Mr Andrew Campbell of the Shire of Manjimup said that the government’s bias towards marginal electorates “did not pass the pub test. There was something just not right about it.”
“If Morrison is serious about boosting local economies in this fraught time, funding these sports projects would help to do just that. It would also go some of the way towards making up for the hundreds of wasted hours and the emotional whammy experienced by club members and local governments who were left in the lurch.”
*Quote in title from Mr. Nick Cater, Past President, North Shore Country Club and Residents Association