STATEMENT REGARDING SENATE ESTIMATES
5 March 2020
This week through the Senate Estimates process I became aware of changes made to a Ministerial decision brief that I signed in Canberra on 4 April 2019, for the third round of the Community Sporting Infrastructure Grants program.
The brief authorized approved projects for the third round this included nine new and emerging projects which, it must be emphasized, had been identified and sent to Sport Australia in March for assessment in line with program guidelines.
I did not make any changes or annotations to this brief or its attachments after 4 April 2019. My expectation was that the brief would be processed in a timely and appropriate manner.
Nevertheless, changes were made and administrative errors occurred in processing the brief.
I have always taken responsibility for my actions and decisions as a Minister, and this includes actions by my office.
I was the Minister for Sport and therefore ultimately and entirely responsible for funding decisions that were signed off under my name, including and regrettably, any changes that were made unbeknown to me.
It is a privilege to serve the Australian people. The public must have confidence in the processes underpinning the expenditure of their hard-earned money.
I make no apology for applying ministerial discretion to ensure fairness across funded projects.
It is unfortunate to see a popular community program, which has delivered 684 projects, with 337 being delivered regionally, being undermined.