Scathing report into sports grants allocation reveals “distribution bias”

Member for Mallee Anne Webster has given her support to deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie who remains embroiled in accusations of pork-barrelling following a scathing report on the Coalition’s handling of a pre- election $100 million community sports grant program.

The Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) report into the allocation of Community Sport Infrastructure Program funding showed there was “evidence of distribution bias” and that the award process was “not informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice”.

The report found the then-sports minister Bridget McKenzie — who is now facing mounting pressure to resign — used funding to favour marginal electorates held by the Coalition and electorates not held by the party that were to be targeted by the Coalition at the 2019 federal election, ignoring merit-based recommendations.

“Applications from projects located in those electorates were more successful in being awarded funding than if funding was allocated on the basis of merit assessed against the published program guidelines,” the report read.

The findings have resulted in claims of political ‘pork-barrelling’ — the spending of government money on a local project in order to win the votes in that area — by Senator McKenzie.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, January 24

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