LOCAL sporting groups and governing bodies have welcomed the announcement of a new $100 million Greater Cities and Regional Sports Facility Fund announced in the 2020-21 NSW Budget, designed to stimulate local economies, boost employment and promote healthy lifestyles across the state.
Acting Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans Geoff Lee said the multimillion dollar initiative would help create and rejuvenate sporting hubs in communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right across NSW, community sport is the heart and soul of our social fabric and we want to make sure we have the best infrastructure for our state,” Mr Lee said.
“$100 million will be injected into improving facilities spaces across metropolitan and regional NSW to enable more people to participate in sport and active recreation.
“By investing in new and existing infrastructure we will encourage participation in grassroots sport and create employment opportunities as part of the NSW government’s multibillion-dollar infrastructure pipeline.”
The funding will be delivered over two financial years, with $50 million on offer in 2020-21 and the second $50 million in 2021-22, divided equally between NSW’s major cities and regional areas.
Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland told News Of The Area the announcement was a great opportunity for local sporting groups.
“It is a great opportunity for football locally as the sport is really well positioned to take advantage of the fund.
“The timing is absolutely perfect because Northern NSW Football just released our State Infrastructure Strategy, and have also provided each of our member zones with their own strategy which identifies and prioritises projects.
“The outcomes of our strategy identified a significant need for improvements in lighting, pitches and changing facilities,” Mr Eland said.
“Football Mid North Coast have a facility strategy as do North Coast Football.
“We have identified a whole host of projects which are required in those areas.”
Mr Eland said the government was looking to support projects which would have immediate community impact.
“The government will be looking for shovel ready projects.
“Obviously what is underpinning this $100,000 is generating more jobs and having money invested in communities almost immediately.
Acting Minister Lee the fund would complement the state government’s $148 million investment in the Active Kids program this year, to further support communities to keep active and involved.
“We have seen record participation in children’s sport thanks to our Active Kids program and our investment in sports infrastructure aims to build on this success across all genders and abilities,” Mr Lee said.
By Doug CONNOR