GILLARD and Albanese knew Thomson was vulnerable.
Electorally, he needed all the help he could get.
He was GILLARD's achilles heel and she knew it.
So Therapeutic Albanese and GILLARD came up with sports rort to end all sports rorts.
$10M in taxpayer money to save Craig Thomson.
Millions wasted in Labor's soccer play
- ANTHONY KLAN
- From:The Australian
- March 23, 2013 12:00AM
IN the final weeks of the 2010 federal election campaign, Julia Gillard announced a $10 million grant to go towards a $40m sporting and community complex on the NSW central coast, which was slated to be among the nation's best.
Today that project is in danger of collapse, with builders walking away from the development late last year over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts, and very few of the community benefits spruiked by the government have actually materialised.
The Central Coast Mariners A-league soccer club's planned "Centre of Excellence" at Tuggerah was due to be completed early this year.
Instead the development sits idle with patches of over-grown glass spurting up between half-complete buildings, and stands as nothing more than a monument to government waste. With the Mariners club facing possible collapse - with players threatening to strike over unpaid wages and the Australian Taxation Office circling over unpaid debts - it has emerged the funding was tied not to the community benefits but a handful of facilities for the elite club.
Less than three weeks before the 2010 election, Ms Gillard and local member Craig Thomson - whose heavy lobbying for the grant brought it about - visited the site and announced the grand project billed as "world class".
The development, they announced, would include a heated indoor aquatic centre, community gym, function centre, education facilities, a 150-room hotel, a museum, and community doctor and dental services.
The federal government was to inject $10m in the $39m project, which was to be completed by Mariners FC Developments, a company created for the purpose owned by three businessmen associated with the Mariners Football Club.
The complex would provide "state-of-the-art" facilities for the Central Coast Mariners, and the raft of community services.
It was, in the words of an August 2010 ALP campaign media release, an "Elite Meets Community Sports Campus".
However, more than $9m of that government grant has been handed over and the community side to the project is yet to materialise.