700,000 high school students to play more sport

Liberal Party of Australia

Up to 700,000 students across Australia will be able to play more sport in school, with a re-elected Morrison Government expanding the popular Sporting Schools program.

The expanded program will now be offered to high school students in year 9 and year 10, providing access to 35 national sporting organisations, including Netball Australia, AFL, Cricket Australia, Hockey Australia and Surfing Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more than $20 million will be provided to expand the Sporting Schools program, to expand its reach to 2.9 million young people.

“Getting more young people involved in sport helps keep our kids active, builds confidence and it provides a way for families to connect back to community sporting clubs as we bounce back from the pandemic,” the Prime Minister said.

“It also creates opportunities and connections to support those students who want to make their sporting dreams a reality and look to become the next Sam Kerr, Ellyse Perry or Lance Franklin.”

The Coalition is also investing $79.6 million to extend the Sporting Schools program for an additional two calendar years to the end of 2024.

Established by the Coalition Government in 2015, Sporting Schools partners with 35 National Sporting Organisations to provide free sport-based activities to students of all abilities to help schools increase children’s participation in sport and connect them with community sport opportunities outside school.

The current program is delivered for primary schools and a targeted program for year 7 and year 8 students in secondary schools. The additional $20 million will expand the program to year 9 and year 10 students.

Expanding the program to include years 9 and 10 will address the significant decline in sport participation, physical activity and social connectivity in secondary students aged 12-16, particularly amongst girls.

More than 8,000 schools have received funding through the program that now reaches more than 2.2 million students annually.

A re-elected Morrison Government will also provide $4.8 million to support surf lifesaving clubs across Australia to purchase vital life-saving equipment.

All 314 surf lifesaving clubs will be able to access an additional $5,000 each year to make these important purchases, including IRBs, defibrillators, rescue boards and other safety equipment.

Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said expanding Sporting Schools to students in Years 9 and 10 increases the reach of the program to 1,800 secondary schools and an additional 700,000 students, expanding the reach of Sporting Schools to 2.9 million students every year.

“It marks a huge step forward as we continue to support the individual health and wellbeing of students at all levels,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Importantly, the expansion will support talent identification among a cohort of children who could be our athletes of the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics.

“After the successful performances of our athletes in Tokyo, there has never been a better time for our young sports stars to chart a path to their own success.”

These commitments build on the Coalition’s strong record and support for sport in the 2022-23 Budget, including:

  • $10.3 million to continue the Participation Grant program, which has supported over 500,000 people in community sport
  • $10.3 million to promote leadership and professional development for women in sport, particularly community sport
  • Extending high performance sport funding to the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first time funding has been allocated for full Games cycle, enabling sports to plan ahead with greater certainty
  • $10.6 million on top of existing high performance funding for Paralympics Australia to support and prepare Australia’s Paralympics Team
  • Securing and supporting an unprecedented green and gold decade of major sporting events, culminating in the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • $10.5 million to leverage upcoming major sporting events to inspire participation and drive community engagement
  • $27.3 million to promote and maintain the integrity of sport

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