Posted on 19 Jan 2020
Leading class action law firm Slater and Gordon is investigating a class action over the Federal Government’s ‘sports rorts’ scandal.
The scandal saw tens of millions of dollars in sporting club grants awarded to clubs whose applications for funding would otherwise have been unsuccessful, after the Minister for Sport applied her own decision-making criteria to overrule the merit-based assessments made by Sport Australia.
The grants, made as a result of the Minister’s intervention, favoured a high proportion of clubs that did not score highly enough for funding based on Sport Australia’s assessments, and in the context of a federal election campaign disproportionately benefited clubs in marginal and ‘targeted’ seats.
Class Actions Practice Group Leader Andrew Baker said that the clubs Sport Australia decided were worthy of funding but missed out may have rights to seek legal remedies.
“Every dollar that went to a club whose application should have been unsuccessful is a dollar that didn’t end up with a club that Sport Australia had identified and recommended for funding in the course of proper processes,” Mr Baker said.
“These community organisations, clubs and groups have lost out because it appears public funds were used for political gain.
“After a thorough investigation, the Australian National Audit Office has stated that there was no legal authority evident to it which allowed the Minister to approve the grants, rather than Sport Australia.
“This raises serious questions about the lawfulness of the conduct involved,” he said.
“In these circumstances, the clubs that have suffered because of any unlawful conduct may have rights to seek legal remedy.”
Mr Baker encouraged clubs who missed out on grants to contact Slater and Gordon.
Media Contact: Kate Van Poelgeest 0434 181 353