New emails reveal more details about sports rorts


Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese today highlighted 136 emails about the “corrupt” scheme between the PM’s staff and the sports minister’s office.

The government has been under pressure over the handling of the $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure program after the auditor-general found 73 per cent of the projects that former sports minister Bridget McKenzie approved were not recommended by Sport Australia.

Ms McKenzie resigned after it was found she also had undisclosed potential conflicts of interest.

Labor is attempting to link the issue to the Mr Morrison’s office but the PM insisted his office only passed on information about projects and made representations on behalf of proposals.

Mr Morrison also hit back at Mr Albanese, and said he had overseen an infrastructure program that funded ineligible projects when he was a minister in the previous Labor government.

“The leader of the opposition is trying to throw mud while he himself sits in an absolute swamp,” Mr Morrison said.

Hundreds of pages of emails were tabled in the Senate today and the ABC is reporting that they show a football club in Mr Morrison’s electorate was also given $50,000 for a building that had already been built.

Guidelines for the grants program said projects that had already begun work were not eligible for funding but the works at Sans Souci Football Club were about to be opened when Ms McKenzie decided to award it money.

It follows questions about an upgrade to Lilli Pilli Football Club, also in the PM’s electorate, which the club boasted about before it confirmed its grant application had been successful.

In a post on its Facebook page, the club said it had applied for federal funding on September 14, 2018 but explained in its application that it was “committed to start a major project (phase one) at the oval imminently and sought government assistance to fund a second project”.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Mick Tsikas/AAPSource:AAP

Meanwhile, a Victorian roller derby club rejected by the scheme told a parliamentary inquiry in a submission that the decision had an immediate negative impact on its ability to operate.

Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby Club – in a safe Nationals seat – was denied funding despite scoring 98 out of 100 on its application for a $45,000 to upgrade toilets.

Club president Bodye Darvill said it had been “heartbreaking” to learn that its project had the highest score of all 2000 applications across Australia.

Ms Darvill said all applications that reached Sport Australia’s cut-off mark of 74 out of 100 should be retrospectively funded.

The club also recommended the government ensure a transparent application process for all future grant programs.

Ms Darvill said her club was now wary of wasting time and energy preparing further grant applications which could be discarded based on political manoeuvring.

“We believe there is a significant trust deficit that needs to be remedied,” she said.

The government on Wednesday again refused to release Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens’ report into the scheme, claiming cabinet confidentiality.

The Gaetjens report led to Ms McKenzie’s resignation over undisclosed potential conflicts of interest. In stark contrast to the auditor-general, the secretary, who was Mr Morrison’s chief of staff when he was treasurer, found the program wasn’t subject to political interference.



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