Council approves $200k to protect local sport
THE Bundaberg Regional Council is trying to protect local sport from the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 impact by offering a $200,000 relief package.
The council’s sport and recreation spokesman Vince Habermann said not-for-profit sporting clubs could apply for up to $5000 to cushion them through the COVID-19 financial impact.
The Community Sport Support Program will be available from July 1, and is allocated in the
2020-21 financial budget. Further stimulus measures are under consideration by the
Cr Habermann said the intention of the funding was to be used on utility costs, building insurance and maintenance, costs of cancelled events, hygiene measures, as well as online resource development.
He said the council had identified 40 clubs that should be eligible for the scheme within the local government area.
“There could be more organisations than that, but that’s what we’ve identified,” he said, following the council meeting yesterday in which the stimulus was approved by all councillors.
“It’s not a huge amount but at least it’s helping with such things as rates and insurance, which obviously they still had to pay, even though there’s been no activity or avenue to be able to generate income within the club.
“Without volunteers the grounds don’t get mowed.
“Without crowds there are no canteen sales or raffles and unfortunately crowds won’t be able to return for some time.”
Commercial sporting clubs that pay tax would not be eligible for the council’s stimulus. Cr Habermann said these clubs were also impacted by the pandemic but the council was limited in what it could do.
“There’s packages coming out from state and federal governments as well, this is what we believe we can do and assist locally,” he said.
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey described sporting groups as “the lifeblood of our community” and he said the council would support them during the pandemic.
“These grants will make a real difference and help sports recover quickly,” Cr Dempsey said.
The council meeting agenda said there were three main concerns from local sporting clubs, the first being loss of income from reduced membership, fundraising, sponsorship and events.
Another concern clubs had was the difficulty in maintaining groups and facilities through a reduced amount of volunteers, and because of the costs involved.
But a third identified concern was in the recovery.
On Sunday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said community sport would return on June 13, and announced the State Government’s own $51.3 million Return to Play recovery assistance package.