What is SPORTAUS Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program?
The SPORTAUS Community Sport Infrastructure Grant is a program that supports small to medium scale projects to improve local community sport infrastructure which will support greater community participation in sport and physical activity and/or offer safer and more inclusive community sporting hubs.
In the 2018 Budget, the Australian Government announced it would invest $29.7 million in 2018-19 to improve local community sport infrastructure.
The objective of these grants is to support local communities to participate, recreate, learn and develop together. The grant has two guiding themes: Community Sporting Hubs and Inclusion. Both are focussed on encouraging greater levels of participation in community sport and physical activity.
The theme of Community Sporting Hubs revives the role of community sporting clubs and facilities as central to the functioning of local communities, increasing their relevance to new and existing participants. Community Sporting Hubs will support use of infrastructure by new and diverse community groups, positioning local sporting facilities as relevant, central gathering places; the new ‘town hall’.
The theme of Inclusion supports the important role that community sport infrastructure plays in offering welcoming, inclusive and accessible participation opportunities for all members of the community. As Australia’s population grows and diversifies, Inclusion projects will ensure community sport infrastructure evolves to meet changing needs of new user groups.
Specifically, the SPORTAUS Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program aims to:
- support increased growth in sport and physical activity participation;
- encourage development of multi-use, shared and co-located facilities;
- offer a range of flexible, community based, participation opportunities;
- prioritise opportunities for women and girls, multicultural communities and people of all abilities to play sport and be physically active;
- increase engagement and reach in local communities; and
- promote community pride, connection and leadership.
Three grant streams are available to cater for capital projects of small to medium scale. The maximum grant amount is $500,000.
- Stream 1 up to $50,000
- Stream 2 $50,001 to $200,000
- Stream 3 $200,001 to $500,000
Examples of eligible projects may include:
- upgrades to playing surfaces, including multi-sport upgrades and resurfacing that supports increased use;
- Building, expanding and/or upgrading change rooms, particularly for girls and women and officials’ areas;
- External entry/exit accessible amenities;
- Improved sports lighting and safety lighting, including installation of solar panels;
- Improvements to ground and court capacity that support increased use;
- Improvements to spectator amenities; and
- Internal/external amenity uplift.
Applications for other projects that meet the objectives of the program are encouraged.
Expenditure of grant funds is restricted to activities directly related to project details which have been specified in the funding agreement.
To be eligible for the SPORTAUS Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program, applicants must be one of the following Australian entity types AND have been operating for 12 months or longer:
- A sporting organisation, such as a community sports club or registered sport association;
- A local government entity;
- An education institution in an outer regional, remote, or very remote location, and only if community sport infrastructure exists on land owned or managed by the institution’s council/board of management;
- A not-for-profit (NFP) organisation whose NFP status must be demonstrated through one of the following:
- Current Registration with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC);
- State or territory incorporated association status; or
- Constitutional documents and/or Articles of Association that demonstrate the not-for- profit character of your organisation.
Applications close 14 September 2018.
The Morrison government used a $100 million community sports program as a slush fund for its re-election campaign, overlooking projects approved by an independent panel in favour of splashing cash in marginal seats.
A scathing report from the Australian National Audit Office has found Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie, who oversaw the program as sports minister, ignored merit-based recommendations by Sport Australia for almost half the successful projects in favour of seats critical to the government’s re-election hopes.
It is the second time the federal government has been warned to lift its performance on the use of taxpayer funds in three months, after a review in November found a $220 million jobs scheme has suffered from conflicts of interest and personal intervention by ministers.
The auditor then savaged the government’s management of the sweeping policy to create “jobs and growth” in 10 regions as part of its promise at the 2016 election, with some decisions skewed in favour of Coalition seats.
The review into the Community Sports Infrastructure Grant, released on Wednesday, revealed 41 per cent of projects awarded funding were not recommended by Sport Australia based on assessment against the programs’s published criteria.
In one round, projects located in “marginal” and “targeted” electorates had applied for 36 per cent of the total funding and received 47 per cent of the total amount approved, the audit revealed.
The review found successful applications were “not those that had been assessed as the most meritorious”, finding Senator McKenzie’s office had run a “parallel” assessment process to decide how to distribute the funds.
It found a “distributional bias” in the way projects were approved, and while money was distributed fairly between states and territories based on population, it was not necessarily based on the merit of applications.
“The award of funding reflected the approach documented by the Minister’s Office of focusing on ‘marginal’ electorates held by the Coalition as well as those electorates held by other parties or independent members that were to be ‘targeted’ by the Coalition at the 2019 election,” the report found.
“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 Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program was launched in 2018 to encourage community participation in sport, including building female change rooms and lighting upgrades for local sporting clubs.
The auditor began a review of the program’s management last year after Labor seized on revelations Liberal candidate in South Australia Georgina Downer – not local MP Rebekha Sharkie – had presented a South Australian bowling club with a novelty cheque for $127,000.
Sport Australia, which administered the program, received 2056 project proposals seeking more than $396.6 million, with $100 million awarded to 684 projects across three rounds. The final round was announced in April prior to the May election.
The audit revealed a separate process undertaken by Senator McKenzie’s office “drew upon considerations other than those identified in the program guidelines, such as the location of projects”.
“It was this assessment process that predominantly informed the minister’s funding decisions, rather than Sport Australia’s process,” the audit said.
Opposition sport spokesman Don Farrell said the government’s “shameless politicisation” of taxpayers’ money slated for community sports clubs was “appalling, unacceptable and cannot go unpunished”.
“If Scott Morrison has any standards whatsoever for the conduct of his ministers, he must immediately stand down Bridget McKenzie.”
“Failure to do so will prove that he does not believe his government is accountable to Australians.”
Senator McKenzie said the program, which funded projects across the country to help get people up and moving, was popular.
“All projects selected for funding were eligible to receive it,” she said.