The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, is calling for the immediate delivery of a $10 million fund to get community sport back on its feet.
Mr Walsh said after “seemingly endless” yo-yo lockdowns, grassroots sporting clubs across regional Victoria have suffered 18 months of cancellations, ripping the soul out of much-loved outlets for communities.
He said participant and volunteer bases have been eroded and facilities and equipment left unused and gathering dust – which is why the Victorian Liberal Nationals have come up with the club level program.
“Many sporting clubs now face significant financial pressures and need additional support to restart in time for the coming summer season and beyond,” Mr Walsh explained.
“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,” he added.
“Local clubs significantly contribute to the physical and mental health of hundreds of thousands of sportspeople, volunteers and families across the state and most of them have lost significant revenue through sponsorship, gate takings and fundraisers.
“As Victoria continues towards National Cabinet vaccination thresholds, it’s obvious we need this plan to save local sport and get communities back together.”
Mr Walsh said sport is a pillar of local communities, its benefits on physical and mental wellbeing are enormous.
He said Victorians need hope; “so let’s act now” to have a COVID-Safe summer season of local sport.
“This funding will be an important step to support local sporting organisations to get back on their feet,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our local sporting clubs bind communities together and must not be another COVID casualty; with many clubs across the state already on their knees and needing urgent support to restart in time for summer.
“What better way to move on from COVID than to get local sporting clubs back up and running?”