NSW Labor have stepped up its attack on the Berejiklian government over the sports grants controversy, declaring there is scope for it to be investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Labor leader Jodi McKay and Opposition sports spokeswoman Lynda Voltz have referred the scheme to the Auditor-General after they say 90 per cent of grants were given to Liberal or target seats in the lead up to last year's election.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday declined to comment on the issue and her office referred to comments by Sports Minister Stuart Ayres.
Mr Ayres denied the grants were targeted, saying he approved recommendations given to him by the Office of Sport and that they had been reviewed by an assessment panel and probity adviser.
However Ms McKay said that 12 of the 15 grants administered under last year's $33.4 million round of funding for the Greater Sydney Sport Facility Fund were for projects in Liberal-held seats.
Funding was also given to a $2.2 million project for Dawn Fraser Pool in the Greens-held electorate of Balmain, and another two in the Labor-held marginal seats of Maroubra and Granville.
Councils in western Sydney including Canterbury Bankstown, Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown had their funding applications rejected.
This comes as pressure has intensified on federal Deputy Nationals leader Senator Bridget McKenzie after the national auditor found that while she was sports minister she awarded most of the grants to seats being targeted by the coalition.
"This is a a terrible indictment on the government because these grants are so important for local council areas," Ms McKay said.
"The minister's fingerprints are all over this. The auditor general at a federal level has found there is involvement by the minister. At a state level it is exactly the same.
"We have some of our largest council areas with really important, critical sports projects that have simply missed out on grants because the Liberal Party is looking after their candidates."
The Labor leader called on Mr Ayres to guarantee that he did not intervene in the grants process and pointed out that Tony Issa, who unsuccessfully stood for the Liberals in Granville in last year's election, announced a $2.74 million grant for Granville Park.
"At a federal level there is a call for a federal ICAC investigation ... but when you see the rorting of grants of this particular magnitude, which is quite obviously occurring here in NSW, there is possibly a place for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (to investigate)," Ms McKay said.
The $100 million Greater Sydney Sport Facility Fund was announced by the Berejiklian government in April 2018 with councils able to apply for grants between $500,000 and $5 million with approximately $33 million given out every year.
Australian Associated Press