Aggrieved sporting clubs that missed out on desperately needed money are demanding more answers about why they were dudded in a scandal-ridden Federal Government sports grants program.
- Victoria’s Kyneton District Soccer Club was among the top-rated clubs to miss out
- President Ron Cole said a team of four worked for at least 100 hours to finish the application
- He asked Senator Bridget McKenzie to explain why it was not approved
Club representatives who spent hundreds of hours preparing applications in the hope of completing much-needed repairs to facilities, only to be overlooked by the Government, have labelled the process “gut-wrenching” and hit out at the “underhanded” tactics that appear to have been used.
The ABC yesterday revealed a spreadsheet developed by then-sports minister Bridget McKenzie’s office, which detailed the rating Sport Australia gave clubs that applied for community sports funding.
It showed 94 of 223 projects deemed “successful” in the first round of Government funding failed to meet the threshold set by Sport Australia to receive funding.
The ABC also revealed emails sent by Sport Australia executives to Senator McKenzie’s office raising concerns about political interference in March last year, just weeks before Scott Morrison called the election.
The Kyneton District Soccer Club, from Victoria, was among Sport Australia’s top-rated clubs seeking funding but missed out when the Government made the final decision.
President Ron Cole said it was “disgusting” to learn Senator McKenzie rejected the club’s $460,000 grant request despite Sport Australia giving it a rating of 87 out of 100.
Sport Australia set a rating threshold of 74 out of 100 in order to receive funding.
“It’s disheartening to see that it has become basically a political game rather than clubs being awarded the funding on their merit,” he said.
“To find out that other clubs have been funded that scored in the ranges of 50 is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking to our club and to our members.”
Mr Cole said a team of four worked for at least 100 hours to complete the application.
“We met on numerous occasions and they put an extreme amount of work to get this application up and make sure everything was correct as to the guidelines,” he said.
“I’d like Bridget McKenzie to come down to Kyneton District Soccer Club in the middle of winter and stand in the middle of our ground and tell us our application didn’t deserve merit to be funded.”
The spreadsheet the ABC revealed showed how the Minister’s office had colour-coded applications to represent which party held the electorate they were in.
An auditor-general report found there was a bias towards marginal seats, and those the Coalition wanted to win, in the lead-up to last May’s election.
An application by the Goolwa District Pony Club in regional South Australia was also shunned, despite scoring 82 out of 100 under the merit-based process undertaken by Sport Australia.
President James Meyer said the club was seeking $40,000 to replace an ageing hut with a new concrete floor shed and water tank.
“We tried to keep it a relativity modest application, we weren’t reaching for the stars,” he said.
“To hear that the process has been tinkered with and influenced in ways that perhaps doesn’t meet the integrity process that you presume is involved is a real shame.
“We can’t move forward without some sort of grant funding.”
Unsuccessful applicants with the highest scores
Sport Australia assessed around 2,000 applications as part of the sport grants scheme.
Scores were included in a spreadsheet obtained by the ABC.
This is a list of the applications that scored highest in the scheme, but were rejected for funding.
|98||Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby||$44,909||VIC|
|97||City of Casey||$500,000||VIC|
|95||Colac Otway Shire||$500,000||VIC|
|95||Yarra Ranges Council||$200,000||VIC|
|94||Cherry Gardens Ironbank Recreation Ground||$480,621||SA|
|93||Yarra Ranges Council||$200,000||VIC|
|93||King Island Council||$425,300||TAS|
|92||Shire of Coolgardie||$500,000||WA|
|90||City of Salisbury||$500,000||SA|
|90||Coromandel Valley Ramblers Cricket Club||$50,000||SA|
|89||Nillumbik Shire Council||$500,000||VIC|
|89||Echunga Netball Club||$40,000||SA|
|88||McLaren Football Club||$50,000||SA|
|88||Pyrenees Shire Council||$500,000||VIC|
|88||Adelaide Hills Hawks Football Club||$27,850||SA|
|88||Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council||$402,054||SA|
|87||Boxwood Hill Combined Sports Club||$499,100||WA|
|87||Cassowary Coast Regional Council||$500,000||QLD|
|87||Kyneton District Soccer Club||$460,000||VIC|
|87||Chung Wah Association||$50,000||WA|
|86.5||Corangamite Shire Council||$127,574||VIC|
|86.5||Marree and District Progress Association||$85,962||SA|
|86||Moira Shire Council||$500,000||VIC|
|86||City of Albany||$195,000||WA|
|86||City of Greater Bendigo||$500,000||VIC|
|86||Yarra Ranges Shire Council||$200,000||VIC|
|85.5||Toowoomba Regional Council||$500,000||QLD|
|85.5||Shire of Wongan-Ballidu||$500,000||WA|
|85.5||Wodonga City Council||$160,000||VIC|
|85||Broadwater Rileys Hill Community Centre||$4,777||NSW|
|85||Apex Club of South Wagga Wagga||$385,448||NSW|
|85||Mid Murray Council||$218,076||SA|
|84||Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council||$500,000||QLD|
|84||Shire of Manjimup||$498,145||WA|
|84||Tamworth Regional Council||$432,304||NSW|
|84||Lobethal Tennis Club||$3,372||SA|
|84||Anglesea Golf Club||$380,000||VIC|
|84||Hindmarsh Shire Council||$471,803||VIC|
|84||Barunga West Council||$40,000||SA|
|84||Hawthorn Bowling Club||$50,000||VIC|
|83||Melville Little Athletics Centre||$25,000||WA|
|83||North Shore Country Club and Residents Association||$500,000||WA|
|83||Port Fairy Tennis Club||$50,000||VIC|
|83||Leeton Shire Council||$496,344||NSW|
|83||City of Parramatta Council||$500,000||NSW|
|83||Horsham Rural City Council||$323,000||VIC|
|83||City of Bayswater||$500,000||WA|
|83||Crystal Brook Golf Club||$46,876||SA|
|83||City of Gosnells||$500,000||WA|
|83||Glen Eira City Council||$213,675||VIC|
About the data
This table is based on the spreadsheet obtained by the ABC, which appears to be an early version created by the Minister’s office during assessment of applications.
Recipients of grants were manually removed from the spreadsheet, leaving the top 50 unfunded clubs.
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