The Australian government, led by the Andrews Labor Government, is actively working to enhance sports participation among First Nations athletes. Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, recently introduced the latest round of the Aboriginal Sport Participation Grant Program. This initiative is designed to bolster First Nations communities' involvement in sports by offering grants that cover travel, uniforms, equipment, and participation in sports carnivals.
The grant program allocates funds of up to $2,500 per junior team and $1,500 per senior team to assist with travel and accommodation costs associated with participation in Victorian or national Aboriginal sporting carnivals and tournaments. Additionally, teams can receive up to $1,000 for team uniforms and sports equipment. For individuals eligible for the grants, financial support of up to $250 per person for sporting uniforms and equipment and up to $750 for travel and accommodation expenses is available.
Notable beneficiaries of previous grants include Naarm Angels Netball Club, which received $1,500 to aid their attendance at the 2023 VACSAL Junior Statewide Football Netball Carnival. Additionally, River Sisic, a basketball player from Ballarat, was able to participate in regional tournaments throughout the year due to the financial backing provided by the program.
In the words of Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence, "These grants are about getting more people involved in sport, levelling the playing field for our First Nations sports players, and helping to launch the next generation of Victorian sporting champions."
Similarly, Minister for Treaty and First Peoples, Gabrielle Williams, highlighted the significance of these grants in supporting Aboriginal athletes and fostering relationships within the community sports sector.
Since its inception in 2020, the Aboriginal Sport Participation Grant Program has disbursed over 430 grants, amounting to over $460,000, benefiting community-run clubs and individuals. This funding is part of the ongoing commitment by the Labor Government to support Indigenous communities in Victoria. The broader initiative aligns with the government's substantial investment of over $1.9 billion in community sport and recreation infrastructure since 2014.
Vice President of Naarm Angels Netball Club, Anita North, acknowledged the game-changing impact of the funding on their under-15 Naarm Angels Girls Netball team, emphasizing the support received from the Victorian Government.
Applications for this funding opportunity are open until 20th October.
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Photo Courtesy National Indigenous Times
Courtesy Premier of Victoria