Grassroot sports clubs join calls for senator to be axed
According to leaked documents the Kyneton District Soccer Club - in the Labor-held Bendigo electorate - was considered among the top 20 by Sports Australia, but were denied funding to fix their pitch last year.
But after finding out the program may have been compromised and used for Coalition pork barrelling, President Ron Cole said he was "gutted" and called for the former sports minister to be punished.
"It is inexcusable what she has actually done and she probably should stand down," he said.
The rising anger among the community comes as Labor called for a Senate inquiry into the Senator's handling of the $100 million fund.
"Communities that were cheated by this government deserve answers," opposition sports spokesman Don Farrell said.
"They deserve to have confidence this type of rorting doesn't happen again."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declined to take action until he receives the results from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet review by secretary Philip Gaetjens - commissioned over a week ago.
It is expected to be returned as early as Thursday or Friday.
If Ms McKenzie is found to have breached ministerial standards she may be forced to stand down from her current position as deputy leader of the National Party and agriculture minister.
The damaging saga comes after an auditor's report revealed, earlier this month, that the fund had been used to funnel cash into marginal seats ahead of the 2019 election.
A document later leaked revealed the top of 2000 applicants from around the country that were denied grants.
This included the Gippsland Ranges Roller Derby club in a seat held by the nationals by 18 per cent that was knocked back despite scoring 98 out of 100.
The Kyneton soccer club, Anglesea Golf Club and Hawthorn Bowling Club were also on the list along with 15 Victorian council projects.
Mr Cole said it was heartbreaking for "grassroot clubs to be used as political pawns".
"We were very disappointed when we didn't get it, but thought it was because our application wasn't good enough, but now people are absolutely gutted."
Speaking at the National Press Club yesterday (wed), Mr Morrison did not rule out expanding the scheme to clubs that missed out.
"I will work with the treasurer to see how we can better support even more projects in the future," he said.