How much taxpayers’ money does Australia spend on sport? It appears to be a huge amount and something the governments, both federal and state, would prefer stayed hidden.
Sport is an obsession in the country and politicians know that when the country is occupied with it, then the people won’t bother about the comings and going of those in power.
Hence, they encourage sport to the hilt. Wealthy associations receive big handouts for this and that even though they do not need the money and can manage on their own. This keeps the sport and the sportsmen on-side.
The government has regulations in place to ensure that popular sports are shown on free-to-air TV. And the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a body that lives on the government teat, covers a huge amount of sport.
Government subsidies are paid to many sports. At times the money is for the expansion of stadia, at others for the maintenance of grounds.
And what goes unnoticed is the fact that government money is paid out as sponsorship to teams, by companies that receive the money as a subsidy. Take Ford in Geelong for example; it lives on government subsidies. Yet it is one of the major sponsors on the Geelong Australian rules football team.
Or Toyota, which, again, survives on government subsidies. It sponsors the Australian rules competition in a big way. Holden, the third carmaker, also sponsors many activities, and receives plenty of government money.
Why is this allowed to happen in a country where there are many people living below the poverty line? Why are overfed and overpaid sports stars allowed to benefit from the public purse when they do not need the money at all?
The transport system in the country could do with a facelift. There is no proper broadband in Australia. The government is now looking to cut various things and even sell off the debt it has in the form of student loans.
But will it ever of cutting back on the bribes paid out to sports organisations and using that money for something that benefits the poor and needy?