Student access to representative school sport will be increased through a $1.2 million investment to fund local and state sports association affiliation fees in 2022 for every student in NSW public schools.
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, Minister for Tourism and Sport and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the move would both reduce the financial burden on families and the administrative burden on schools.
A 2021 Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne study showed half of Australian children had participated in less organised sport and other physical activities since COVID-19, with one in three doing a lot less or no sport.
Cost was one of the main reasons cited by parents for failing to re-engage with sport, Mr Ayres said.
“By directly funding the sports associations we are making access to sport more equitable and inclusive, taking away cost as an obstacle for families,” Mr Ayres said.
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said there was a significant administrative burden associated with collecting and handling these affiliation fees, as schools collected the funds from parents/carers and then reallocated the funds to the associations.
“Under the new arrangement, students at smaller schools and schools for specific purposes that traditionally did not take part in representative sport due to the administrative burden will now able to experience the chance to play for their schools and regions,” Ms Mitchell said.
“These changes align with our commitment under the Quality Time Action Plan to cut red tape in schools by 20% in low-value administrative tasks by the end of 2022.”
The Representative School Sport Pathway provides students access to representative pathways in a range of sports. Schools affiliate with their local and state sports associations and are charged fees to cover costs for the delivery of the pathway.
Ms Mitchell said the link between student wellbeing, academic success and physical activity was well known, and the department would continue to promote high-quality sport and physical activity opportunities for students.
“We want to return to pre-COVID levels of participation and uptake of sport and physical activity at school, at home and in the wider community, and this funding injection is one way we can help make that a reality.”