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Australia PM's sports grants scandal report author Phil Gaetjens says program had 'significant shortcomings'

09:05  14 february  2020
09:05  14 february  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

Sport grants rort "just stinks": Albanese

  Sport grants rort Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is calling on top bureaucrat Phil Gaetjens and publicly release his report into the so-called sports rorts scandal.Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says top bureaucrat Phil Gaetjens must show his independence in the sports grants scandal "that just stinks"

In the submission, Gaetjens said McKenzie had “wide discretion” about the “other factors” she could consider and that she had “acted within the remit of the guidelines” when Phil Gaetjens , the secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian.

Former PM &C secretary Mike Keating has lashed Phil Gaetjens over his report exonerating Bridget McKenzie from exercising political bias. "It would seem, on the evidence, that Gaetjens has produced a report whose only purpose was to get the government off a political hook," he said in a

Video provided by Sky News Australia

The head of the Prime Minister's department is refusing to release his secret report into the way a $100 million pre-election sports grants program was administered but has conceded the program had "significant shortcomings".

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens late on Friday made his first public intervention into a saga that has weighed heavily on the Federal Government for more than a month.

Electorates would have 'missed out' on grants without McKenzie

  Electorates would have 'missed out' on grants without McKenzie Thirty federal seats would have missed out on government grant funding if former sports minister Bridget McKenzie had not intervened in the process, an inquiry has heard. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens has written to the sports grants inquiry, saying that while there were some "significant shortcomings" with respect to the minister's decision making role, her office's separate approval processes were not unduly influenced by reference to "marginal" or "targeted" seats.

A political storm has been triggered by an auditor-general report into community sports grants overseen by cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie. * McKenzie resigns as Nationals deputy leader and minister after the Gaetjens investigation finds she had undeclared conflicts of interest.

Two reports have examined the administration of that program – and reached contradictory conclusions. RELATED: Duelling reports leave ‘ sports rorts’ scandal unresolved. The first, written by Summing up that report at a press conference earlier this month, Mr Morrison said Mr Gaetjens

Bridget McKenzie et al. standing next to a person: Bridget McKenzie quit Cabinet for failing to disclose a membership to a club that received Government funding. (ABC News: Sean Davey)© Provided by ABC Grandstand Bridget McKenzie quit Cabinet for failing to disclose a membership to a club that received Government funding. (ABC News: Sean Davey) In a six-page submission to a Senate review into the Government's handling of the program, Mr Gaetjens revealed then-sports minister Bridget McKenzie told him she had never seen the now-infamous colour-coded spreadsheet that advisors used when assessing applications by electorate.

It came a day after the Senate hearing heard conflicting testimony about the eligibility of grants the Coalition handed out before last May's election.

Mr Gaetjens is a former chief of staff to Scott Morrison but from when the Prime Minister was the treasurer.

In his secret report, which Mr Morrison commissioned, Mr Gaetjens assessed Senator McKenzie's handling of the program when she was sports minister in 2018 and early 2019.

Former Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer agrees to give evidence to sports grants inquiry

  Former Sport Australia CEO Kate Palmer agrees to give evidence to sports grants inquiry The respected sports administrator will be able to give her view on whether the awarding of grants in the politically-compromised program was fair, or whether it was politically motivated. Labor senator and committee chair Anthony Chisholm said he was looking forward to hearing from Ms Palmer."We want to get to the bottom of these decisions and hear from Sport Australia to understand the true political involvement in this scheme from Minister McKenzie and the Prime Minister's Office.

'We just have to take the PM ' s word, his mate' s word about whether Senator McKenzie' s behaviour was unethical? We don't need his word, because every Minister for Finance Matthias Cormann said the Gaetjens report could not be released because: 'Disclosure of the document subject to the motion is

The senate has turned up the heat on the government to release the PM &C report into the sports grants affair. table the final report provided by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Phillip Gaetjens , to the Prime Minister in relation to the application of the Statement

His investigation followed an Auditor-General's finding that the $100 million program for community sports infrastructure had a bias towards marginal government seats and electorates that the Coalition was targeting in last year's election.

Mr Morrison has previously asserted that the Gaetjens report contradicted the auditor's finding but has resisted political pressure to release the full report.

Mr Gaetjens' Senate inquiry submission said the full investigation he completed for Mr Morrison remained "subject to the rules of Cabinet confidentiality".

His summary document said there were "significant shortcomings" in the way Senator McKenzie decided on the grants.

Mr Gaetjens identified a "lack of transparency" for applicants and the divergence between projects recommended by the assessment body Sports Australia and Senator McKenzie.

But he said he disagreed with the Auditor-General's finding on the question of bias.

"I did not find evidence that the separate funding approval process conducted in the Minister's office was unduly influenced by reference to 'marginal' or 'targeted' electorates," the report states.

Mr Gaetjens also said he had looked into the spreadsheet that was leaked to the ABC, and whether it had an impact on decision making.

He said Senator McKenzie advised him "she had never seen the advisor's spreadsheet" and that neither she nor her staff "based their assessments on it".

Senator McKenzie quit Cabinet, after Mr Gaetjens handed his confidential report to the Prime Minister, for failing to disclose her membership of a gun club that received funding.

Queensland school received controversial federal funding to build unwanted swimming pool .
A Commonwealth sport funding program pitched as a scheme to help make facilities more female friendly sent $2 million to a Queensland school for a swimming pool it did not want or have space for.Coalition MP Luke Howarth announced the $2 million for a new pool at the Mango Hill State Secondary College in his electorate of Petrie just a week out from last year's federal election.

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