Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chief executive Kate Palmer said the organisation is looking forward to helping Australians become more active and healthy after receiving a boost in the Federal Budget to drive participation initiatives for community sport.
The funding is particularly directed towards getting children and older Australians more active and improving community sport environments, including infrastructure.
The additional participation funding includes:
· $50.4 million over four years to increase the investment in sport organisations for participation outcomes. This would include increased investment in junior sport pathways such as the national Local Sporting Champions grants program;
· $41.7 million to continue managing the Australian Government’s Sporting Schools program until the end of the 2019 calendar year;
· $29.7 million in 2018-19 for a grants program to improve local community sport infrastructure, and;
· $22.9 million over two years for a new grants program aimed at increasing the physical activity of Australians aged 65 and older.
Palmer said: “The ASC welcomes this funding for community sport because a thriving sport system begins with a healthy, vibrant participation base.
“This funding will enable the ASC and our partner organisations to reach and enrich the lives of more Australians through sport and physical activity.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our children learn and develop through movement. This funding will enable the ASC to continue managing the successful Sporting Schools program, funding some 5200 primary school and 500 targeted high schools across the country.
“Equally, we want sport and physical activity to be maintained for life and it’s essential we engage with older Australians so they continue to benefit from the physical, mental and social value of sport and physical activity.
“We will announce soon plans to enhance sporting environments, both in terms of community infrastructure and policies to address safety, fairness and inclusiveness.
“This funding recognises the ASC’s important leadership role in building a healthier, happier and more productive nation.”
Palmer said the ASC was committed to leading and connecting Australian sport at all levels, from community participation to elite representation.
“We have seen with the recent Gold Coast Commonwealth Games the effect that our amazing athletes can have in inspiring our nation and strengthening community spirit.
“The ASC, led by our high performance arm the AIS, is continuing to work with the Australian Government to inform high performance measures and funding for Australian sport into the future.”