Data shows that the Wollongong local government area (LGA) has received only one funding grant from the Club Grants Category 3 Fund over the last nine rounds since August 2017 leading to concerns that local sport and community groups are being dudded.
During this period sport and community groups have submitted 27 applications for funding for a total of up to $3.8 million.
Of the 27 applications, 22 were deemed eligible with total funding of up to $3.4 million.
However, only one community group – Hope Health 2508, based in Helensburgh – received $144,000 for a centre fit-out in August 2019.
Since then no other Wollongong LGA-based sport or community group has received a cent of funding under the Club Grants Category 3 Fund.
Over the same period, throughout New South Wales more than $33 million in grants has been handed out.
Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, has written to the Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello MP, requesting an explanation for the “significant discrepancy” between the number of applications submitted, the number deemed eligible and “the distinct lack of success in funding recipients from the Wollongong local government area.
Mr Scully told the Minister:
It is now very clear that Wollongong local government area sport and community groups are being dudded by NSW Government funding programs, including the ClubGrants Category 3 Fund Infrastructure Grants.
The Wollongong LGA has also been excluded for any funding under both the NSW Government’s Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund and Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund – leaving local sporting clubs with no funding for sporting facility upgrades.
Mr Scully has requested that officials from the Office of Responsible Gambling – who administer the program – convene a roundtable of Wollongong LGA sport and community groups to provide feedback on the application process and the steps that can be improved so applicants can take advantage of expert advice for applications in future rounds.
“There must be a reason why so many applications have been submitted over nine rounds of funding by local sport and community groups, yet since August 2017 only one community organisation in the area has been successful.
“Either there is a hitch in the application process, or Wollongong LGA’s sport or community groups are being deliberately dudded by the NSW Government.
“An area the size of Wollongong LGA – the third largest city in NSW – should not be missing out on funding under this program.
“It’s unfair, it needs to be called out, and it must be addressed”, Mr Scully said.
The ClubGrants Category 3 Fund Infrastructure Grants reinvests 0.4 per cent of clubs’ gaming machine profits over $1 million back into community projects.