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2TM Regional News

Call for projects 'denied funding in sports scandal' to receive grants

Barnaby Joyce and Bridget McKenzie in 2019. Picture: Supplied

The Federal Opposition is calling on the government to fund all the Community Sports Infrastructure Projects that were denied funding in what has been dubbed as the "sports rorts" scandal.

That would include the $432,000 Tamworth City Council project to install lights at the Riverside sports complex.

Senator Tim Ayres said the whole matter was a "swindling of country towns".

"Tamworth Riveriserde Sports Club had a grant application for $432,00, and it was ranked very highly," he said.

"But Bridget McKenzie decided that money should go to big city clubs and targets that the Liberal Party agreed on.

"Bridget McKenzie resigning does not solve this."

He added that a Senate inquiry with the power to call witnesses and require documents would enable a thorough investigation of what roles Bridget McKenzie, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and any external parties may have played.


My Ayres could not confirm whether or not funding the other projects "that missed out" would see some lose the money they received.

New England MP Barnaby Joyce said that while they will address the recommendations of the performance audit into the grant program, it was "reasonable" that Bridget McKenzie had made the final decisions as the relevant minister.

A spokesperson for Mr Joyce said the Government acknowledges the recommendations of the performance audit into the grant program and will take action, with Sport Australia, to address the report's findings.

"The Federal Government between 2018 and 2019 delivered 684 projects by investing $100 million in the Community Sport Infrastructure grant program, including 10 in the New England," they added.

"It is more than reasonable that a Minister is the final decision-maker and has some discretion - that is why Ministers are appointed.

"It is important to ensure that there is a good geographical spread of projects between states and also between metro and regional areas – which were two important factors in the final decision making."

Mr Joyce's spokesperson said they wanted as many people covering as much of Australia as possible gained benefit from the program - "and they did".


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