Local sporting clubs need a hand, not a fee increase

Fears that local councils will increase fees to access fields for local sporting clubs across Melbourne has left athletes uncertain of their sporting future. This comes as Yarra City Council proposes to increase sporting organisation user fees by almost three times the original amount.

The Liberal Nationals know support is needed post COVID-19 restrictions to put money back into local sporting clubs and encourage players back onto the field. Drastically increasing the cost for sporting clubs to use a field is shameful. 

Local sporting clubs were hit hard during COVID-19 restrictions, forcing play and training to come to a halt due to the Andrews Labor Government’s botched handling of hotel quarantine, causing the second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government’s mistakes resulted in local sporting clubs missing out on a years’ worth of revenue from player fees, canteen income and function fundraisers. Clubs simply cannot afford to pay more to play.

There are fears amongst sporting clubs that if councils hike up prices, clubs will be forced to fold.

Last year the Liberal Nationals released a plan to get Victoria Back to Work and Back in Business that called on the government to provide Sports and Recreation Participation vouchers for all Victorian primary and secondary school students to claim as a discount on local sport and recreation membership fees, and grants of up to $50,000 to grassroots clubs to assist recovery following the losses caused by lockdowns.  

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Sport, Cindy McLeish:

“Local sporting clubs need help back onto the field, not be put under threat to fold because they can’t afford fees to access the grounds.

“There are not many clubs that can foot a bill over three times the amount they usually pay to access an oval. If the proposed fee increase is supported, we will see sporting clubs fold for good this time.

“The Andrews Labor Government needs take local sporting clubs into consideration, work with council and provide support to keep sporting organisations operating.”

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