Gippsland South The Nationals Football Gippsland Sport Funding Danny O'Brien grassroots sport

Local sporting clubs could do better with footy funds

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has criticised the Andrews Labor Government for giving yet another hand out to the AFL while the needs of local sporting clubs are overlooked.

Mr O’Brien said it was bizarre that the Andrews Labor Government had used taxpayers’ money to attract a St Kilda home game against Port Adelaide to Melbourne, after the proposed Shanghai match had to be relocated due to coronavirus.

“How much money is the government giving to the AFL for a Victorian club to play a Victorian home game in Victoria?,” Mr O’Brien asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events in State Parliament.

“The decision to provide the nation’s richest sporting organisation with this money, reported to be $250,000, will be met with bewilderment by sports clubs in my electorate of Gippsland South.

“Clubs such as Nyora Football Netball Club, which needs money for new club and change rooms; or Foster basketball which needs money for stadium extensions; or the cricket, hockey or baseball clubs and other users at Stephenson Park in Sale, which are faced with a shortfall of funds for their planned clubroom upgrade.

“Can the Minister explain how much less money will be available for these Gippsland clubs as a result of a taxpayer subsidy for a Victorian AFL team to play a home game in Victoria?”

Mr O’Brien said spending on bringing an AFL game to the home of AFL – Melbourne – was in stark contrast to the small amount of money the government has dedicated to tourism marketing for Gippsland in the wake of the bushfires.

“We have interstate teams play in Melbourne each week and of course they bring interstate visitors – but it occurs without a taxpayer subsidy.

“This funding would be much better utilised by a volunteer-supported, grassroots sports club than left with the nation’s richest sporting organisation. Bear in mind the Labor Government has already handed over $225 million of our money for the AFL to renovate the privately-owned Marvel Stadium.”

 

6 March 2020

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