Attorney-General to review sports grants program, despite boost to own electorate

Attorney-General Christian Porter will lead a Government review into the Auditor General's report. Source: AAP

The attorney-general will lead a review into the community sports grants scandal, despite his own electorate receiving nearly a million dollars in funding by the program.

The Federal Attorney General will lead a review into the community sports grants scandal, despite nearly a million dollars in funding being awarded to his own marginal electorate during the 2019 Federal Election campaign.

In the months leading up to the election, Christian Porter announced $926,865 in funding from the Community Sports Infrastructure program to upgrade facilities in his Western Australian electorate of Pearce.

At the time, Mr Porter held Pearce by a narrow margin of 3.6 per cent, a margin he increased to 7.5 per cent at the 2019 Election.

A report by the Auditor-General found that former sports minister Bridget McKenzie awarded money from the Community Sports Infrastructure program to sporting clubs in ‘marginal’ electorates held by the Liberal-National Party at the 2019 Election.

The report has lead to calls from Labor for Ms McKenzie to resign from her current frontbench duties.

Today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Mr Porter will review ‘legal issues’ raised by the auditor-general’s report.

“There are some legal issues that were raised by the auditor general, which I’m moving quickly with the attorney-general to ensure that they're clarified as soon as possible,” Mr Morrison said.

SBS News understands the attorney general’s review will be limited to assessing whether the former sports minister had the legal authority to determine successful grant recipients.

“The auditor-general made comments concerning the legal basis for ministerial involvement in the relevant process,” Mr Porter told SBS News.

“Given the lack of any conclusive view offered by the auditor-general, the prime minister has sought further consideration of the issue, which I am attending to.”

Mr Porter declined to respond to questions from SBS News about a potential conflict of interest and did not provide a timeline for when his review would be completed.

The WA electorate of Pearce was one of five Liberal-held marginal seats in the state targeted by Labor at the 2019 Election.

In December 2018, Mr Porter announced $130,000 for the Toodyay Bowling Club, under the first round of Community Sports Infrastructure program funding.

A media release announcing a $500,000 funding grant to Belhaven Park
A media release announcing a $500,000 funding grant to Belhaven Park.
christianporter.com.au

In March 2019, Mr Porter announced $500,000 for upgrades to the Belhaven Park in Quinns Rock, under the second round of Community Sports Infrastructure program funding, and a month later, Mr Porter announced $296,865 to improve facilities for the North Coast Ball Club, under the third round of Community Sports Infrastructure program funding.

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