Election, Election…I’d been reading about a few of the promises being made by both main parties
in their Australian election campaigning. Of course, there were a few that related to sports clubs and sports facilities, especially in marginal seats. I read of Concord Soccer Club, which lies within the bounds of the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association, being promised $500,000 by Joe Hockey, speaking for the Liberals, and then Bill Shorten, Federal Education and Industrial Relations minister, came in with a $1 million promise. This is for club of 1,200 junior players. Talk about pork-barrelling in the marginal seats.
So as I was about to try and bring a number of such promises into focus, the Australian Financial Review, ‘gazumped’ me and no doubt used much better sources than I’d reach.
Given the parlous state of some sports, clubs and athletes around the country, this makes interesting reading. It seems that Labor sees more advantage in fragmenting the money available and salting it carefully into targeted local campaigns. In one week, Labor rolled out almost 70 local announcements for ‘grassroots’ targeting…costing $450 million.
Sport related pledges have been collated by Phillip Coorey and Joanna Heath of the AFR. Labor has promised at least $100 million over 27 projects/programs/facilities/clubs, 17 of these in marginal seats. Add to that the $1 million for Concord. The largest is for the Rabbitoh’s high-performance centre, $16 million.
The Coalition has promised some $43 million over 10 projects/programs/facilities/clubs, 7 being in marginal seats.
Both parties are pledging to build a $12 million sports and community centre next to the Penrith Panthers Club. The Coalition has effectively reannounced Labor's policy to allocate $10 million to upgrade Brookvale Oval upgrade. In Queensland, sitting Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro has pledged $1 million to upgrade local sporting facilities. Kevin Rudd has promised $15 million to design a new stadium and convention centre for Townsville.
The Brisbane Broncos, a publicly listed company owned 68% by News Corp Australia operates in the highly competitive sport and entertainment industry – and has been promised $5 million by the Liberals and alternately $3 million by Labor. This is an area that usually doesn't enjoy taxpayer subsidies. The Australian Rugby Union is to develop a world-class training facility in Sydney's North West following a $20 million funding commitment from NSW Government and the Federal Coalition. Interesting.
There do not seem to have been any promises made by anyone about funding initiatives to attract sporting events or business events to Australia.
Tony Abbott pledged $3 million toward Sydney’s hosting of the World Netball Championships in 2015 whilst visiting Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre recently.