Lift the crowd caps for local sport

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has called on the Andrews Government to remove the 1000-person crowd restriction at local outdoor sporting venues in 2021 in State Parliament.

A capacity limit of 1000 people at sporting events has been imposed by the state government because of recent COVID outbreaks caused by Daniel Andrews ongoing failures in the hotel quarantine and contact tracing programs.

Ms Bath said country sport was an integral part of Gippsland communities and the 1000-person crowd cap imposed by Daniel Andrews was unfair and poorly thought out.

“Country sporting grounds lend themselves to physical distancing by design, it is unjust that Daniel Andrews felt it necessary to place spectator caps when the Australian Open and AFL were given the green light to operate with tens of thousands of spectators.

“The inconsistency in rules imposed by the Andrews Government for grass roots and professional sport is astounding – it’s a case of one rule for big sporting business and another rule for our local netball and football teams.

“With appropriate COVID safe plans in place there is no reason why crowd limits cannot be increased and be managed by local clubs who are best positioned to understand individual capacity and apply safe limits.”

Ms Bath said community sport plays an important role in supporting small businesses in regional communities, while also enhancing the health and wellbeing of residents.

“After a year like no other, community connection through local sport should be encouraged instead of having its operations unnecessarily regulated and restricted,” said Ms Bath.

“Community sport injects money into our local economy, supporting small local businesses such as the baker, butcher and grocer.

“Importantly, crowds at local sporting events generate income through gate takings, canteen sales and the raffle; all which are needed to keep the lights on, fridge cold and players on the ground” said Ms Bath.

“There is more than enough space at local football and netball venues to safely allow more than 1000 people into grounds.

“The Andrews Government’s crowd limits for country football are simply non-sensical and must be reconsidered, Ms Bath said.”