BAYSWATER council, the Chung Wah Association and Mount Lawley Bowling Club have been caught up in the latest sports rorts scandal.
Although the Morrison government has refused to name clubs that missed out on funding from a grants program exposed earlier this month as a political porkbarrel, the ABC on Tuesday published a leaked list showing Chung Wah and Bayswater were among the dudded despite being ranked among the country’s 50 most worthy projects.
The Voice has also discovered the bowling club was in the top 100.
Former federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie is under mounting pressure to resign after an auditor general’s report found her office manipulated a Sports Australia grant program to allocate funds based on marginal seats the Coalition hoped to win ahead of the last federal election, rather than merit.
The Liberals did not run a candidate in Perth at the last election and seemed to have little interest in spending any money here.
Chung Wah’s $50,000 application scored 87 out of 100 when assessed by Sports Australia officials, but it was rejected by Ms McKenzie in favour of clubs in seats the LibNats hoped to win – one successful grant had only been rated 39/100.
Federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman says “the Chung Wah Association has existed in Perth since 1909. It is completely unfair that they were denied funding which was recommended by Sports Australia.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison owes the Chung Wah Association an apology and $50,000.
“This abuse of an independent program has a real impact on our community – local organisations such as the Chung Wah Association and the Noranda Netball Association have been denied vital funding after spending hundreds of hours putting together applications.”
Bayswater council put in a request for $500,000 to resurface the Noranda netball courts, but its score of 83 also wasn’t enough to net funding once Ms McKenzie got to it.
Bayswater CEO Andrew Brien says “we are disappointed our application was unsuccessful, and we will continue to take every opportunity to seek funding for this worthy project in the future”.
Mount Lawley bowling club was in the top 100 in the independent rankings but the sports minister declined their $423,000 for synthetic green replacement.
Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese visited the bowling club on January 21 and said “this club put in an application for $423,000.
“They had $40,000 of their own money that they were prepared to put in to contribute to the upgrade of this facility for, like many clubs of this size, a sporting organisation that is at the centre of local community activity, one that relies upon volunteers, one that contributes to the wellbeing of the local community here. And yet, they were not successful for the grant.
“There’s no basis upon which success or no success has been determined other than politics”.
The synthetic turf would’ve used less water, required less upkeep and is also immune to the turf mites the club had a problem with in the past.
Mr Gorman says the grant “would have given the club a long-term sustainable footing for the future. These clubs don’t run at a huge profit, they don’t make lots of money, they’re pretty much entirely volunteer-led. They might have one person to maintain the grounds.
“The government should be transparent and release the assessments of every application it received, to give every association an idea of the true picture of their project and Bridget McKenzie should apologise to sporting organisations across Australia and then resign.”
by DAVID BELL