Softball Australia welcomes budget news for sport

Softball Australia welcomes budget news for sport

There is plenty to look forward to for National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) including Softball Australia following the announcement of the 2021-2022 Federal Budget.

The government has committed funds to both grassroots via the extension of the Sporting Schools program as well as High Performance to cater for our athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics with a view to carry through contributions to 2030.

“We were delighted to see so much support granted towards National Sporting Organisations in last night’s Federal Budget announcement,” said David Pryles, Chief Executive Officer at Softball Australia.

“The funding towards athletes competing in what will be testing Olympic Games for all is great news, but what we are really excited about is the extension of the Sporting Schools program.

“With all the positive change occurring in our Sport, Softball Australia and Member States are making participation our number one priority, and Sporting Schools is such a great program for us to drive the game forward.

“Our job is to capture those participants playing in school and convert them into full-time softball members within our Clubs and Associations, so the funding for Sporting Schools has given us confidence in that space beyond 2021.”

The Australian Government is supporting a healthy and active lifestyle, promoting sport and physical activity in communities and schools. The Sporting Schools Program will be extended until 31 December 2022, providing a further $40.8 million in funding to support schools to partner with national sporting organisations to deliver high quality and diverse sport-based activity to students free of charge.

The program, delivered by Sport Australia, is open to all Australian schools and all children up to year 8. It has a particular focus on student groups known to have lower activity levels, including girls aged 12 to 14 years, and those in disadvantaged and remote locations.

Participation in community sport dropped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with children particularly impacted. This program supports children and their parents to reconnect with sport in a safe and healthy manner, building confidence and a more widespread return to community sport.

Pryles also welcomed the details of the budget around not only High Performance, but women in sport, proving the current government will continue to champion female participation.

The Australian Government will invest $136.3 million in Australia’s high performance sport system and programs supporting the pipeline of highly talented athletes to compete and succeed in a number of major sporting events on the horizon, including the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“It’s encouraging to see the foresight to look beyond the Tokyo Games with the prospect of a home Olympic Games in Brisbane in 2032,” added Pryles.

“The $82.2 million for an extension of the Athlete Performance Pathways and Wellbeing programs to support the development and specialised wellbeing needs of athletes fits perfectly in with our own plans to develop softballers who will be Podium ready for a likely tilt at the Los Aangeles Games in 2028.

Of course, that funding provides us an opportunity to nurture our next batch of Travelodge Aussie Spirit and Aussie Steelers stars.”

The Australian Government is driving the promotion of women’s sport and major events through a $19.9 million which will include support for the hosting of two major women’s sporting events – Fédération Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) Women’s World Cup 2022 and Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup 2023.

These events will support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, support greater equity in sport for women and girls and display our sporting prowess on home-soil. In particular:

“While these events aren’t softball specific, we welcome the government’s commitment to showcasing women in sport to the world,” Pryles said of the funding.

“That again gives us confidence and proof of government backing when we approach the World Baseball Softball Confederation to seek hosting rights for future international tournaments when they become available.”

For more information and further details on the 2021-2022 Federal Budget and what it means for sport, visit the Sport Australia website for their official response.