The Nationals Funding Danny O'Brien state parliament COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions recovery inconsistency

O’Brien: Crowd limits need to be reviewed

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said crowd limits for local football and netball in 2021 were inconsistent and nonsensical and need to be reconsidered by the Andrews Labor Government.

The Nationals raised the matter of caps of 1000 people at country football and netball in State Parliament last week.

“This really doesn’t pass the pub test - it is simply wrong that crowd numbers are restricted to 1000 people after 30,000 people a day could attend the Australian Open tennis and the Government is proudly promoting it will host a rugby league state of origin game at the MCG in June.

“While few of our local sporting clubs would regularly top 1000 spectators at games, there are big rivalry clashes, and especially during the warmer early months of the season and over Easter, big crowds do occur.

“This decision really is nonsensical as it’s almost impossible to enforce. Social distancing is not a problem because clubs have plenty of room to ensure a safe distance is kept by all.

“2020 was a wipe out for most of our sporting clubs and many were still responsible for ongoing costs such as maintenance, keeping ovals and courts in playable condition and other routine costs.

“Our regional clubs for all sports rely on the sponsorship of local businesses who have been smashed by three lockdowns and many will struggle to get back on their own feet let alone support the sporting clubs.

“Fundraising will be especially critical this year, but it’s not going to happen if the Andrews Government locks fans out.

“We need to get the crowds back to the games to support the clubs and enable them to offer attractive sponsorship packages.”

Mr O’Brien said the clubs are desperate to get up and running and are committed to getting through a 2021 season.

“COVID-Safe measures can be implemented, hand sanitising, wearing of face masks and density quotients.

“By all means, set the social distance parameters but don’t put a cap on numbers when it is unnecessary.”

 

25 February 2021

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