The City of Swan received over $2 million from the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries for sports related projects.

Issues of transparency raised over state gov sport spending

The auditor general's office has issued a report questioning the hundred of millions the state government has spent funding sporting projects around the state.
March 28, 2024
Andrew Williams

A REPORT by the auditor general’s office has raised concerns about transparency and ‘pork barrelling’ after hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on sport and recreation funding by the state government.

Auditor General Caroline Spencer said the process – which saw over $260 million in funding allocated across the state – was not transparent.

“It is not clear how the merit of some of these projects was assessed, and there is no public transparency on why some projects were funded and others were not,” she said.

From 2020-21 to 2022-23 the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) provided almost $300m to support sport and recreation projects across the state.

The office of the auditor general’s report, released on March 21, found that the DLGSC applied “sound and transparent” assessments to approve Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF) projects to the tune of $36m.

However, according to the report, DLGSC was not involved in the assessment and approval of the other $261m, which was allocated to 474 projects across the state through two funding other streams.

“The practices used by government to select, assess and approve these projects were not transparent and therefore the public and parliament cannot be assured public money has been fairly and equitably awarded to communities,” the report said.

The $261m was separated into $125m for the WA Recovery Plan, and $136m for 2021 election commitments.

The $125m was awarded to 16 projects as part the state’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

“These projects received between $150,000 and $30m each. We found limited public information about how projects were selected and assessed by the state government,” the report said.

The Department of Treasury and the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s response was the issues raised would be considered as part of the 2025 grants guideline review.

The City of Kalamunda received $5m via the WA Recovery Plan stream for the design and construction of an additional playing field, the upgrade of an existing playing field, the installation of flood lighting and construction of water delivery infrastructure at the Ray Owen Reserve.

The city also received an additional $5.4m across three projects via the large election commitment stream, while another $651,000 was split amongst 17 sports clubs from across the Kalamunda local government area.

The City of Swan received $1.86m for the construction of the Ellenbrook Youth Centre as part of the WA Recovery Plan, as well as $1.57m spread across two large and six small election commitments.

$343,562 was spread across 28 sport clubs from the Swan to fulfill small election commitments.

Of the $261m, the Shire of Mundaring received just $300,000 to fund eight projects, while another $106,300 was allocated amongst five sports clubs.

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