Budget Football Netball

Labor axes country footy and netball funding

Footy and netball clubs across Gippsland South will have to fund costly upgrades themselves if the Melbourne Labor Government proceeds with plans to axe the successful Country Football and Netball Program.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said he was angered by news Labor may cut the program in next month’s State Budget.

“Under the Coalition Government, three Gippsland South clubs shared in close to $120,000 to undertake upgrades that otherwise would not have been possible - or would have involved a lot of firewood raffles and sausage sizzle fundraising," Mr O’Brien said.

“Foster Football club received $60,000 to enhance flood lighting at the facility and the Toora Netball Club received $40,000 to redevelop the courts, add lighting and improve spectator seating.”

Mr O’Brien said the netball courts at the Walter Tuck Reserve in Mirboo North had also been resurfaced under the former Coalition Government’s program.

“Clubs often have to fundraise for years to be able to fund these projects, and now that Labor is likely to scrap this important program it means that these upgrades will be even more difficult,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Country football and netball clubs are the soul of many of our communities in Gippsland South and the program ensured that clubs could continue to have the facilities they needed to cater for their communities.

“Having facilities that are modern and safe is vital to attracting new members, and if clubs no longer have access to this program it means that some facilities will start to crumble and clubs won’t have the funds to undertake the necessary upgrades.”

Mr O’Brien said the program acknowledged the important role sporting clubs played in communities, from providing a place for locals to meet and get active to mentoring players, coaches, and volunteers.

“As a strong supporter of country football and netball, I know how much time volunteers give up to ensure their clubs progress, so this cut is a real slap in the face for every volunteer at each of the 16 clubs in my electorate,” Mr O’Brien said.

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