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The Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream (The Pool Rorts)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

The Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream was a grants program totalling $150 million originally announced in March of 2019 by then-Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and Senator Bridget McKenzie. Mr. Morrison stated that the grants program's principal objective was to "ensure that there are changing facilities and other facilities to support more girls and women's participation in sport all around the country." The program was originally described as being a "merit-based sports grant scheme."

A lined olympic-sized swimming pool with a single swimmer wearing a swim cap and the text "The Pool Rorts" foregrounded.

In February of 2020 it was revealed that the projects funded by the program were even more heavily skewed towards Coalition seats than the Sports Rorts affair. Of the total $150 million grants available, $120 million of the program was directed to 11 Coalition-held seats. $60 million, or 40% of the overall funds, were allocated to projects in two Liberal-held seats: the marginally-held electorate of Corangamite and the marginally-held seat of Pearce. Despite the program being focused on female change rooms, swimming pools were allocated the majority of all funds.

It was also revealed that guidelines for the program were originally intended to be available in June of 2019 but were never produced. Furthermore the majority of funds, which were intended to be allocated over a period of 4 years, were already exhausted.

As described by Jack Snape and Andrew Probyn for ABC News, the sports program had:

"No guidelines. No tender process. No application form. Some recipients didn't know they'd even been given money until they read about it in the local paper."

For example the Victorian Surf Coast Shire Council only learned that they would receive $20 million to build an Olympic-sized pool after it was published in the Geelong Advertiser. This publication was made four weeks before the election. In another case, Sydney's Georges River Council only heard they were receiving $5 million to upgrade the Kogarah War Memorial Park Pool on May 14, only four days prior to the election. The council had never applied for any funding as part of the program.

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