Peter Dutton received a $200,000 sports grant five months before the election

Peter Dutton could be the next name embroiled in the sports grant scandal, as his electorate received $200,000 six months before an election he won by the barest of margins.

 

 

This morning, The Guardian exposed yet another questionable payment through McKenzie’s sports grants scheme, awarding the maximum amount to a rugby club to build a female change room for a women’s team that doesn’t exist. According to the publication, the entire team quit in 2018 due to an “alleged culture of mistreatment and misogyny.”

The club, Old Collegians, is located in the Coalition-held minority seat of Sturt, one eventually held in the election a couple of weeks later.

But, I want to talk about Peter Dutton. Through the prism of allegedly rorting in the name of sports, Dutton certainly fits the criteria. His seat, Dickson, was marginally held by a Liberal incumbent. Guess what happened next.

According to a press release on Dutton’s website dated 14th December 2018, The Pine Rivers Rowing Club in Dutton’s electorate received $200,000 from the program in order to build a new boat shed.

In the statement, Dutton’s office said that “the new shed would accommodate growth in the club’s youth rowing program and help introduce the sport to more participants.”

Bridget McKenzie visited the club with Dutton five months before the Federal election to announce the funding through the oft-questioned Move It Aus Community Sport Infrastructure Grant program.

“We understand that our success and prowess as a sporting nation begins with grassroots sports which is why we have focused our investment in local sporting facilities,” Senator McKenzie said.

 

 

“Our Government has prioritised spending at the grassroots level because we recognise the wider health, social and community benefits that come from participating in local sporting clubs,” Mr Dutton said.

Dutton would later win Dickson by a minuscule 9,000 votes, marginally edging out Labor’s Ali France via a 2% swing.

In the initial report, the auditor general report found that 73% of grants awarded in the third round had not been recommended by Sport Australia based on a merit-assessment process. The auditor took it further, stating that funding was prioritised to suit Coalition marginal and target seats.

 

 

The offices of Peter Dutton and Bridget McKenzie have been contacted for comment.

 

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