Australian sports scandal hits Greek community as Newcastle Olympic FC miss out on federal funding

·

The Greek community of Newcastle are reeling after their beloved football club was a victim of the Morrison governments’ Sports Rorts scandal.

Newcastle Olympic Football Club missed out on federal funding for a new grandstand and sporting facility upgrades.

This was despite an independent assessment giving it a far higher score than projects the Morrison government hand-picked for funding.

The club applied unsuccessfully for a Community Sport Infrastructure grant – the program at the heart of the Morrison Government’s shocking ‘sports rorts’ scandal.

“Newcastle Olympic Football Club is a well-loved Newcastle institution, particularly in the Greek community who are obviously passionate about their football,” Labor MP Ms Sharon Claydon said in a statement.  

“The fact that this deserving project didn’t receive funding is a slap in the face to all the hardworking volunteers who worked on the grant application for months on the mistaken understanding that it would be judged on its merit.”

The Club had applied for $500,000 in federal funding to supplement a $500,000 commitment from the City of Newcastle and $200,000 from the Club’s own fundraising efforts.

The proposed project would have taken the facilities at Darling Street Oval to the next level, with a brand-new grandstand for Olympic’s passionate fans and upgrades which would encourage more participation, particularly among the club’s four female teams.  

“Once completed, this upgrade would allow community groups and players year-round use and bring the ageing facilities up to spec for National Premiere League and FFA Cup competitions,” Ms Claydon said.  

Newcastle Olympic has since learnt that the Darling Street project scored 76/100 in the independent analysis undertaken by Sports Australia.

“It’s simply not right that Olympic missed out while the Morrison Government gave grants to projects with scores as low as 39/100,” Ms Claydon said.

“The Morrison Government shamelessly used this publicly funded grants program as its own personal election slush fund, ignoring independent advice and awarding grants to Coalition-targeted seats rather than projects based on merit.

“This is a government that repeatedly thumbs its nose at due process, fairness and integrity.”

When interviewed about the rejected application, Newcastle Olympic Secretary Con Gounis said he had initially thought the club was in with a good chance of securing funding.

“We thought we did our due diligence and we thought we were a pretty good chance. When you find out why we’ve missed out – you just think that’s not the Australian way, it’s just not right,” Mr Gounis said.

“We just wanted a level playing field, that’s all we wanted, to be judged on merit – if you’re successful, great, if not we’ll try again – well it doesn’t look like that has happened and that’s disappointing.”

When asked about his faith in the grants process, Mr Gounis said: “It’s certainly put a big question mark on it. You just expect that everyone is equal, and whoever decides, it will be decided fairly and equitably – obviously it hasn’t been.”

“At least let us put it in again and be judged on our merits – that’s all we ever wanted, to be judged on our merits – and obviously that didn’t happen. “

Ms Claydon has written to the Prime Minister to request that the Government deliver the Darling Street project funding in line with its obvious merit. 

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Greek community raises $85,000 for St Elesa Food Initiative in Kogarah

More than $85,000 was raised for the St Elesa Food Initiative during a Fundraising Dinner which took place on Friday, May 10.

The HACCI National Federation introduces The Ellinikon to Australia

The HACCI National Federation hosted a series of events in Australia, presenting The Ellinikon, Europe's largest urban renewal project.

Ambassador of Greece meets with Greek Australian Parliamentary Friends group

The Ambassador of Greece in Australia, Stavros Venizelos, today met with Members of the Greek Australian Parliamentary Friendship group.

Heliades Women’s Network gather in Melbourne for double celebration

The Hellenic Women’s Network ‘Heliades’ gathered at YASSAS The Greek Way at Southbank, Victoria on Sunday, May 26.

Greek Democritus League’s celebration of workers in Melbourne

The Greek Democritus League held its annual May Day dance on May 18 at White Rose Receptions in Thornbury.

You May Also Like

We are not ‘leftovers of the sword’

Dr Panayiotis Diamadis is encouraging Greek Australians to speak up about antisemitism and to display ‘philotimo’ and ‘philanthropia.’

Peter Katsambanis to fight for Hilarys Legislative Assembly seat

"In all marginal seats, all we can do is give our best, I'm an absolute fighter, I have never given up on anything in my life," Peter Katsambanis said.

British and Cypriot aid for Gaza breaks new ground

Britain and Cyprus have collaborated through humanitarian effort to send 87 tonnes of aid to Gaza, utilising a unique route via Egypt.