The state member for Polwarth has accused the state government of buying favour with Tennis Australia.
Reports in The Age claim that Werribee MP and Treasurer Tim Pallas approved a “secret” $63 million bailout of Tennis Australia on September 1, 2022, prior to the election.
The taxpayer-funds were purportedly used to help the peak tennis body clear debt racked up staging events like the Australian Open during the pandemic.
“No matter what the cause is, that’s not the point,” Richard Riordan said.
The Polwarth MP says the payment should have been made public, and accused the government of trying to repair a fractured relationship with Tennis Australia.
“To me this looks like yet another deal to buy favour to get an outcome for the government,” he said.
“Because this government knows that Victorians really love this event and want to see it stay in Melbourne.”
Mr Riordan says the actual cost to taxpayers of government backing in the tennis body is in excess of $100m, given the government earlier forgave a $40 million loan to Tennis Australia in February 2021, at the peak of the pandemic.
“Victorian’s are tiring of the fact that this government can spending hundreds of millions of their money and not be prepared to be open about it, public about it, and transparent about it,” he said.