Labor to invest in sport for Australians with a disability

A Shorten Labor Government will invest an additional $9.41 million to support Australians with a disability to play sport, from the grassroots through to high-performance pathway programs.

Labor’s investment will provide support from the grassroots participation level to developing elite talent, and will be additional to the $8 million for Australia’s Tokyo Paralympic preparations, $1.8 million for the 2019 INAS Global Games and $1.4 million for Special Olympics Australia outlined in the Budget.

It will also come on top of Labor’s earlier commitments of $1 million to support the Special Olympics Junior Games in 2020 and National Games in 2022, $1 million Reclink Australia’s Access All Abilities disability sport information portal and $4 million to construct wheelchair accessible accommodation, improve access to facilities and provide new opportunities for disability sports participation and support more Paralympians to train at Essendon Football Club’s home base, The Hangar.

Funding will be provided to Disability Sport Australia and Paralympics Australia for programs and initiatives that help Australians with a disability access sporting opportunities and strengthen pathways from grassroots participation to talent identification and beyond.

Shadow Minister for Disability and Carers, Senator Carol Brown, said Labor’s investment will help remove barriers to people with disability participating fully in sport.

“Labor will ensure people with disability and their families are not treated like second class citizens, but get equal opportunities to participate in all aspects of social, cultural and community life, including sport,” Senator Brown said.

“We know there are health benefits from sport for people with disability, so it’s really important that support for disability sport is about giving everyone a chance to participate, not just supporting our elite athletes with a disability.”

If elected, a Shorten Labor Government will provide $3.41 million to Disability Sport Australia for initiatives including:

  • A disability sport advisory service, to help Australians with a disability find sports that suit them and get involved at club level;
  • A national roll-out of ‘Start Up Kidz’, a multi-sport, school holiday camp program giving kids with disabilities the chance to experience sports with similarly abled kids;
  • A social and economic impact study on the benefits of sport and recreation for people with a disability;

This investment will also support DSA’s bid for Australia to host the Cerebral Palsy World Games in 2022, the development of national ‘Race Running’ program allowing kids with severe disabilities to do weight-bearing physical activity including running and walking with their families and peers and the establishment of a youth ambassador program to provide positive role models for kids with disabilities to encourage them into sport.

Labor will also invest $6 million to support Paralympics Australia to:

  • Establish a program to map current pathways and identify barriers to entry and continuing participation;
  • Expand and enhance its Talent Search program to better support more people with disabilities to be matched with elite and community sport programs;
  • Improve and expand classification education, certification and accreditation programs;
  • Re-establish the Paralympic Education Program for schools and teachers, which was phased out in 2014 due to a lack of funding;
  • Support greater inclusion of Indigenous Australians in disability sport;
  • And establish a program to create Paralympic Sports Centres of Excellence.
Shadow Minister for Sport, Senator Don Farrell, said Labor is committed to giving all Australians a fair go at sport, whether they dream of becoming a Paralympian or just want to get involved in grassroots sport and enjoy its health and social benefits.

“Our investment in these initiatives will connect more Australians with a disability to grassroots sporting opportunities and also strengthen the links from grassroots disability sport to high-performance, through better talent identification and enhanced pathways,” Senator Farrell said.

“We want to help to ensure that disability sport isn’t just for our best and brightest prospects but something that is accessible to even Australian with a disability who wants to get involved.”

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