Among other things, the club is hoping to replace its diving blocks with the Sport Australia grant. Picture: Kevin Ratcliff
Among other things, the club is hoping to replace its diving blocks with the Sport Australia grant. Picture: Kevin Ratcliff

Swimming club’s grant woes

The members of a North Burnett swimming club say they feel ignored and worried as troubles surrounding the deadline to redeem a vital Government grant are mounting.

The Gayndah Swimming Club, which maintains the town's public pool, received an $80,000 grant from Government body Sport Australia last April, which was set to finance new diving blocks and grandstands for the club.

However, the new acquisitions would additionally cost $8,000 in Goods and Services Tax (GST) - an amount which the club cannot afford, and which the grant money is not allowed to cover.

Club members met and decided on a new course of action later that year - to transfer the grant agreement to the North Burnett Council, which is exempt from GST.

"We talked to Council about it and they agreed that, if we could get Sport Australia to change the grant agreement to them, they would then get the equipment and claim the GST, so they wouldn't be out of pocket," said Angie Hoskinson, treasurer of the Gayndah Swimming Club.

Ms Hoskinson contacted the Government body in October last year, but her proposition has not yet been approved.

"We've submitted an application to Sport Australia to have the grant agreement transferred to Council, but we have not to date received a response back from Sport Australia," she said.

"The last mail from them was on January 10."

"Part of the grant conditions is that you have to complete the grant within 12 months of receiving the funds," Ms Hoskinson explained.

Having received the last email from Sport Australia more than a month ago and with the grant's deadline fast approaching, the club is now facing significant financial troubles.

If members had to pay the GST themselves, the treasurer said, the club would lose out on vital equipment that the grant would have otherwise financed.

"We would have to reduce what we purchase," Ms Hoskinson said.

"We might only be able to do the diving blocks, or only the grandstands. We wouldn't be able to do both."

All in all, the club planned to purchase six new diving blocks as well as four new grandstands - two as permanent fixtures and two portable units.

"They're both beneficial. The diving blocks at the pool now need to be replaced, and we wanted to get the new grandstands to support the new buildings that are in the works," the club's treasurer said.

The Central & North Burnett Times contacted Sport Australia for a statement.

"Sport Australia continues to work through the process required to approve changes of this nature and is in contact with the club with regards to this matter," a Sport Australia spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Ms Hoskins and the rest of the swimming club members express their frustrations at the bureaucratic holdup.

"[The money is] just sitting there," Ms Hoskins said.

"If we don't spend any of it, we have to give it back."


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