Cashed up for spending on kids sport

Within minutes of the announcement today of a massive boost to sports funding by the government, many of the jubilant sporting bodies issued press releases with details of how they were going to spend the extra moolah.

Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, chose to make the announcement during the lunch break at the Gabba as the first Ashes test was in full swing.

He announced that $11m a year over four years will help encourage more young Australians to become active and healthy.

The funding follows the Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success paper delivered by the Federal Government, as its answer to the Crawford report.

This review identified that while continued investment in elite performance is important, significant investment in building sustainable sports from the grass roots up is the key to Australia's sporting future.

• Cricket Australia will receive new funding of $750,000 per year for four years to help expand its national junior cricket program, MILO in2Cricket, and build on the foundation which sees over 804,000 participants currently involved in outdoor and indoor cricket around the country.

“The funding is not just great news for cricket but provides a significant funding boost for many mass participation programmes around the country, ” says Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

“Sport plays a major part in maintaining the social, economic and physical health of Australian communities.

“But we are not without our challenges to continue encouraging young Australians to stay active. This funding is a huge step in helping to get young Australians back on to the sporting field.”

The latest national cricket census shows there are more than 804,000 cricket participants across Australia – an increase of 7.76 percent on the previous year, plus just on 100,000 children are now engaged in Milo in2Cricket across the country.

Milo in2Cricket is Cricket Australia's official entry-level programme, designed to introduce five to ten year old children to the game of cricket in a fun and safe environment.

A survey of upper primary and lower secondary school age children by the Australian Sports Commission showed soccer, basketball, Australian football, cricket and netball accounted for about two-thirds of all the time and energy children spend playing sport.

• Hockey Australia says its funding increase of $500,000 will build on existing development and recruitment programmes and create innovative ways of attracting youth to the sport.

Hockey Australia chief executive Mark Anderson said the sport was now aiming towards aggressive growth in the number of players, coaches and officials as a direct result of the funding increase.

Hockey Australia’s Chief Executive, Mark Anderson says that while the continued success of hockey’s national teams is crucial, it is important to invest at the grassroots level to ensure long term success.

 • Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer welcomed the $700,000 participation funding for netball, earmarking the additional funding to focus on junior participation through the San Remo NetSetGO! programme for five – 12 year olds and a national schools programme.

Plus there are plans to develop an online education programme for netball’s volunteers.

 “Our sport is a classic example of a mass participation code that introduces habits of life-long physical activity to large numbers of young people, primarily female, and the results at the top end speak for themselves,” she says.

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