Zali Steggall MP calls for more transparency in sporting grants

2 July 2024



This government did promise more transparent and accessible grants programs, but so far nothing has been delivered, and we are well over two years into this term. It is causing significant prejudice to organisations needing key infrastructure funding. The federal government needs to stop further delay with two of its key grants programs: the Urban Precincts and Partnerships Program and the Thriving Suburbs Program. These two programs were announced in May 2023 in the federal budget by Minister Catherine King after cancelling the previous grants process. Now, I don't disagree that there were major concerns in relation to pork-barrelling and the integrity of the previous process, but the difficulty is that it simply has not been replaced with the promised new grants process and the rigorous integrity that should be around that. We have very key organisations within communities like mine in Warringah waiting to apply, with no avenue for funding for this kind of infrastructure.


In Warringah, for example, the Manly Warringah Gymnastics Club hopes to construct a purpose-built, world class gymnastics and multisport facility at Nolan Reserve in North Manly. The two-year, $10 million, club funded project will guarantee the club's 2,000-plus members a home for the next three decades and open new and exciting opportunities for the wider community. It's anticipated that the facility will be recognised by Gymnastics Australia and Gymnastics New South Wales as a centre of excellence for high-performance gymnastics and trampoline, and it is designed to cater for all sports that include aerial movements, such as snow sports, diving, skateboarding, surfing and acrobatics through the Clubs NSW and NSW Institute of Sport endorsed aerial academy.


Funding is needed for this project, and it's exactly the type of project these grants programs under Minister King are meant to help with. In particular, it's also a sustainable, state-of-the-art project, fully sustainable from an energy efficiency point of view, with rooftop solar and batteries associated. It has huge participation from women; over 70 per cent of participants in the sports are female. And it's a feeder area and support for the pathway to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. The difficulty is that we've got key projects like this where funding is not being delivered or there is no opportunity to apply for funding. A similar project is the Manly Life Saving Club, which secured $5 million previously, but there's a shortfall now due to increased building costs and delays. There is simply no opportunity to apply for additional funding. This is a lifesaving club that provides two-flag patrols for Manly Beach, voted No. 1 in Australia. I urge the government to deliver these grant pathways.