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Breathing life into sport

Breathing life into sport

A plan

The Victorian Nationals have today called for the immediate delivery of a $10 million fund to get community sport back on its feet.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said lockdowns had seen sporting clubs across Victoria suffer 18 months of cancellations, ripping the soul out of local sporting clubs.

Participant and volunteer bases have been eroded and facilities and equipment left unused and gathering dust.

Many sporting clubs now face significant financial pressures and need additional support to restart in time for the coming summer season and beyond.

Under this new funding program, individual sporting clubs could apply for up to $50,000 in funding towards kick-starting operations and supporting ongoing financial viability.

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Ms Kealy said community sporting clubs contribute significantly to the physical and mental health of local communities.

“Community sporting clubs provide so many benefits physically and mentally to our local communities, but they face uncertain futures due to the disruption of yo-yoing in and out of lockdown,” she said.

“With the 2020 season failing to get off the ground and this year’s footy and netball seasons having been cut short the financial stress on clubs has compounded.

“Footy and netball clubs in my electorate were getting ready for bumper finals series, functions and presentation nights that would have provided a much-needed financial boost.

“Over the weekend it was announced this summer’s cricket season is not expected to start until mid-November.

“This is a month and a half later than usual, which robs small cricket clubs of the chance to utilise their facilities while still being expected to pay rent and associated costs.

“Our local tennis and bowls clubs are understandably nervous about the season ahead with the social benefits of these clubs so important across such a broad demographic.

“Without any significant revenue streams of late clubs will be managing the impacts of harsh lockdown measures well into the future, which is why I’m calling on the government to immediately implement this proposal.

“The government needs to offset some of the harm caused by their decisions and acknowledge the huge impact they have had on regional communities.”

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