Funding boost crucial to sport development in Australia

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It’s been a good few weeks for Commonwealth Games sports and athletes, according to CGA chief executive Craig Phillips.

In conjunction with the recent news that South Australia is moving to a feasibility study on Adelaide  hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the CGA’s $13 million funding package for sport ahead of Birmingham 2022 and the announcement of five young recipients of the Kurt Fearnley scholarships, came the release of the government’s $385.4 million package for sport and physical activity announced in last week’s Federal Budget.

The Budget delivered more than $158 million of new investment directly to Sport Australia and the AIS, to help fund community participation initiatives through to additional support for Australia’s high-performance athletes. An additional $54.1 million will be invested in high performance sport for athlete pathways and wellbeing, while school and community infrastructure programs will be expanded.

To help get more Australians more active, more often, Federal Minister for Sport Senator Bridget McKenzie announced an opening round of 50 successful applicants as part of the $28.9 million ‘Move It AUS’ Participation Grant Program.

These grants will give sport, physical activity and local government provider’s resources to get Australians moving and to support the aspiration to make Australia the world’s most active and healthy nation.

Grant recipients include a diverse group of physical activity providers and sports organisations, from non-government entities and smaller localised programs, through to major sporting codes, who can deliver large-scale initiatives that align with the Federal Government’s Sport 2030 National Sport Plan.

The Federal government announcement came on the day the CGA released details of a $13 million funding package that is a direct legacy for Commonwealth Games sports and athletes of hosting the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Phillips believes the combined investment is crucial to drive long-term benefits for sport in Australia.

“Many of the programs funding by the ‘Move it AUS’ program are in Commonwealth Games sports and will be crucial to developing a healthier Australia.  They will introduce millions of Australian kids to a wide range of sports and with that comes the potential for greater success in high performance sport,” Phillips said.

“The government’s significant funding for grassroots participation, facilities and also high performance is welcome and aligns closely to the CGA’s objectives of supporting the next generation of athletes,” Phillips says.

“Whether they are on the doorstep of national selection, or a young child dreaming of representing Australia, barriers to sport participation are continually being removed and inclusive opportunities improved for all Australians,” Phillips added.

The total 2019-2022 funding from CGA includes $2 million in direct athlete support in the final 18 months leading into the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The remaining $11 million will fund initiatives which CGA believes will most likely contribute to its aspiration of being the number one nation in Birmingham.

The initial grants program consists of $4.155 million in project funding for the 18 Birmingham 2022 sports for projects in 2019 and 2020 targeting pre-elite athletes who have their sights set on the 2022 Games. Further funds have been set aside to support any additional sports which may be added to the Birmingham 2022 program by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

In addition, CGA has set aside funding for 2019 and 2020 Kurt Fearnley Scholarships – the first five recipients were unveiled at the April Carbine Club of NSW (CCNSW) lunch in Sydney.  CGA’s contribution will be matched by the CCNSW with program support provided by the NSW Institute of Sport.

“The funding is designed to complement rather than replace or replicate any other sources of funding such as via Sport Australia or the AIS.  And in some sports where Olympic related funding is minimal, this funding provides a lifeline for their athletes and the sport,” Phillips said.

CGA will continue to work with partner sports and high-performance partners at the AIS, Paralympics Australia and State/Territory Institutes of Sport to ensure the best possible preparation for Australian athletes to compete at the Commonwealth Games.

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