2018 - Local Sporting Clubs 2018 - Local Sporting Grants | June 01, 2018

Daniel Andrews bills grassroots sports for AFL deal

Member for Eastern Victorian Region, Melina Bath has condemned Daniel Andrews for handing our local community sports groups a raw deal, while doling out harbour-side land in the heart of Melbourne to the AFL for free.

In a recent parliamentary inquiry, Treasurer Tim Pallas admitted he had no idea of the value of the land recently gifted by the Andrews Labor Government to the AFL to develop a new headquarters at Docklands.

The Treasurer also confirmed to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee there was no effort to analyse if the deal would benefit taxpayers.

“Daniel Andrews is prepared to gift the AFL prime land worth – apparently – millions of dollars, while our grassroots sports clubs are left with the scraps,” Ms Bath said.

“There’s a long line of local clubs in Latrobe Valley for whom a little bit of funding would go a long way,” Ms Bath said.

The Nationals candidate for Morwell Sheridan Bond highlighted the Yallourn Yallourn North Football Netball Club who desperately require an upgrade to their netball facilities. 

“Currently one out of date netball court supports the playing and training needs of the entire club. The netballers complete their warm up in a gravel car park, the only toilet facility is a temporary port-a-loo, the court lighting is insufficient and there are no change facilities for the female players.” 

“Projects like the Yallourn Yallourn North FNC netball courts are more deserving of taxpayers’ money than Etihad Stadium,” said Ms Bond.

The $225 million for the AFL could, based on current State Government grant guidelines, cover grants for – 2,250 country football and netball clubs, 75 aquatic centres or 900 small swimming pool upgrades.

It was also revealed at PAEC that grassroots clubs will be forced to pay three per cent interest on loans to upgrade local facilities.

Shadow Minister for Sport Danny O’Brien said grassroots sport was getting a raw deal from the Andrews Labor Government.

“It beggars belief that Daniel Andrews is giving a free kick to the AFL while slapping our community sports clubs with interest-bearing loans to upgrade their facilities,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Anyone involved in sport at the grassroots level could point to a club rooms that needs replacing, a stadium that needs a new roof or a playing field that needs work.

“The Liberal Nationals will back grassroots sport. We’ll divert any funds from the Etihad Stadium deal that we can into grassroots sports.”

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