SPORTS RORT: Baysy funding pitch sucks up 200 hours

TWO hundred hours of work went into a Bayswater council application for a federal grant that was rejected during the “sports rorts” scandal.

On Monday (August 3) a federal senate select committee inquiring into the grants heard Bayswater requested $500,000 to resurface the cracked and failing Noranda Netball Association courts.

The council saw the upgrades as being of the “highest priority” as the were needed to improve safety and increase player participation by about 30 per cent.

It should have been a shoe-in if the process was based on the Sports Australia commission’s assessment: They rated it as 83/100, well above the cut off mark of 74, and recommended sports minister Bridget McKenzie approve it. 

Instead, many highly scoring projects missed out and most money went to projects in electorates the Liberal/National coalition was hoping to win at the 2019 election. 

Noranda’s in the Perth federal electorate, where the Lib/Nat coalition wasn’t running a candidate and had no motive to muster votes. 

At this week’s inquiry teleconference hearing, Bayswater council’s project services manager Jon Vines phoned in as a witness.

“We had two city staff working on documentation for a full week period, and that was in conjunction with the Noranda Netball Association, and local contractors and suppliers,” he told the committee.

“We estimate in excess of 200 staff hours in relation to the application”.

Others testifying on the day had similar estimates of hundreds of hours going into detailed applications, with the shortest still clocking in at 80 hours of work and 17 pages.

Some of the grant-winning organisations didn’t even fill out an application, or got money for work that’d already been done. 

Mr Vines said out of several projects needing funding the city chose to put forward the NNA application because the courts were already failing and there was high demand.

“A lot of effort and a lot of hope went into a strong application,” he said.

Mr Vines said the process was “clearly not fair… it wouldn’t pass the pub test.”

Federal Perth Labor MP Patrick Gorman was fuming after listening in to the committee hearing, telling the Voice “the Liberal-National sports rorts took money from the City of Bayswater and wasted weeks of their time”.

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