Australia Electorates would have 'missed out' on grants without McKenzie

13:35  14 february  2020
13:35  14 february  2020 Source:   9news.com.au

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Gaetjens argued McKenzie ’s intervention had improved the geographical spread of projects, with only five electorates missing out on any funding, compared with 30 that were set to miss out if Sports Australia’s recommendations had been adopted.

It was reported grants were targeted at the critical electorates of Indi and Corangamite. Repeated revelations showed how grants were funnelled to groups linked to Coalition MPs and wealthy and exclusive sports The criticism eventually led to the resignation of Bridget McKenzie from the ministry.

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.

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Sports clubs that missed out in 0m grants program could bring class action. Read more. Morrison, McKenzie and Frydenberg have all defended the program, arguing all projects were eligible for grants and no rules were broken in the allocation of funding.

Sign out . On Friday, Albanese described the sports grants program as “a scandal of massive proportions” both because of the number of ineligible On Thursday the auditor general, Grant Hehir, said that although Morrison’s office made both direct and indirect representations about which projects

"Had the minister approved only those grants recommended by Sport Australia in the list of recommendations it proposed initially, 30 electorates would not have received any grants at all," he wrote.

Bridget McKenzie wearing a white shirt and black hair: Bridget McKenzie has resigned as sports minister following the grants scandal.© AAP Bridget McKenzie has resigned as sports minister following the grants scandal.

"In contrast, following the minister's actual funding decisions, only five electorates did not receive a grant, including three electorates from which there were no applications."

It is the first time Mr Gaetjens has publicly commented on the sports grants scandal, following Scott Morrison's referral of the issue to him.

He said key flaws in the process were the lack of transparency for applicants around some of the "other factors" being considered, and the disconnect between the process run by Sport Australia and that run in the minister's office.

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“right” that Bridget McKenzie , the minister responsible for the sport grants program, had resigned. the fact that worthy projects missed out on funding because they weren’t in electorates that the “ Without seeing the report, the public can’t know how Mr Gaetjens investigated the matter or how he

" Grants right across the electorate , for Labor and Liberal members, and National Party members alike, applied through the proper processes, received the Many of the grants went to marginal Labor electorates the Coalition was hoping to win at last year's federal election. On February 25 last year

"This lack of transparency, coupled with the significant divergences between projects recommended by Sport Australia and those approved by the Minister have given rise to concerns about the funding decision making."

Mr Gaetjens revealed the auditor-general did not provide any information to him that was used for its audit.

"My advice to the prime minister was based on my analysis of information provided to me by Sport Australia, Senator McKenzie and the senator's staff which related to her decision-making."

He said he had concluded that "in exercising her role as decision maker for the program, Senator McKenzie acted within the remit of the guidelines".

Senator McKenzie has since resigned from cabinet after Mr Gaetjens found she did not properly declare conflicts of interest.

"I did find that Senator McKenzie breached the (ministerial) standards by failing to declare her memberships of two organisations and that she had an actual conflict of interest when awarding funding to one of those organisations, the Wangaratta Clay Target Club, which was neither declared to the prime minister nor managed," he wrote.

Reported with AAP.

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.

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