Riverina MP Michael McCormack has again defended a $144,000 grant to a netball club linked to his family after new documents tabled in Parliament showed its application scored lower than other groups in the electorate.
Four applications from within the Riverina electorate to the much-criticised Commonwealth Sport Infrastructure program were denied despite scoring well - between 71.5 and 85 - compared to thousands of others across the nation.
Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes (MCUE) Football-Netball Club was awarded the $144,000 grant despite its application scoring just 68.
The grants program was run by the Australian Sports Commission and overseen by then federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie.
Prior to December 2018, MCUE applied for a grant for a netball court resurface while Mr McCormack's son Alex was a club treasurer.
According to documents made public by Sports Minister Richard Colbeck this week, MCUE's application score was below that of unsuccessful projects in Wagga and the Riverina.
In response to questions about the documents, Mr McCormack told The Daily Advertiser that he was not made aware of any assessment scores.
"Neither myself or my office were made aware of any of the Riverina electorate applicants' assessment scores given by Sport Australia as they are handled by the department and the minister in charge of the department, which was Senator McKenzie," Mr McCormack said.
"Upon learning the MCUE Club had lodged an application, I immediately notified Senator McKenzie about my family connection to the club and recused [myself] from any involvement in relation to the application process.
"I have complied with all requirements of the ministerial standards including the disclosure of my family connection to [MCUE]."
The Apex Club of South Wagga had applied for $385,448 to build a new bike track at Lake Albert and had been given a score of 85, one of the highest for any application in Australia, but was knocked back.
The club declined to comment.
MCUE had the second lowest co-contribution of any successful application in the Riverina, offering about $550 or 0.4 per cent of the netball court project's budget from other sources.
Mr McCormack said MCUE had applied for netball court funding on three prior occasions but was unsuccessful.
"The sport's governing body, Netball NSW, had deemed the Mangoplah court was unsafe and would need to be upgraded beyond 2018," he said.
"The federal funding applied for and received by the MCUE netballers followed the same process as [other successful applications]."
A member of the MCUE senior committee declined to comment except to state that the application guidelines were followed and all potential conflicts of interest were declared.
Labor Senator Deborah O'Neill said the "industrial-scale pork-barrelling scheme" was responsible for "Hundreds of worthy sports clubs, like the Apex Club of South Wagga [applying] for grants in good faith, only to learn their applications were rejected because they weren't worthy of political interference".
"The stench surrounding the sports rorts program just gets stronger day by day," she said.
"The whole of Australia knows this stinks and the people of Riverina have every right to be outraged.
"Scott Morrison has done nothing to reassure the people of Riverina that their taxpayer dollars are being spent honestly and transparently in the public's interest."
The names of groups and project details for successful and unsuccessful applications were removed from a 238-page spreadsheet tabled in Parliament this week by Senator Colbeck's office to "due to privacy concerns".
Successful applications could be identified by comparingother sources of public information.
Six other groups within the Riverina electorate were approved for grants, ranging from $450,000 to $10,600.
Wagga and District Amateur Football Association was awarded $450,000 for new lights at Rawlings Park; Forbes Shire Council was awarded $178,000 for botanic gardens amenities; and Weethalle Recreation Ground Committee was awarded $46,000 for its grounds.
Temora Town Netball Association was awarded $78,000; Temora Rugby Union Club was awarded $17,000; and West Wyalong Amateur Swimming Club was awarded $10,655.
Senator O'Neill called for "full transparency about which applications were successful, which applications weren't, where they ranked, what the process was behind this systemic rort".