NEW ERA: A number of guidelines will take place across community sport as it prepares for a return in the coming months.
NEW ERA: A number of guidelines will take place across community sport as it prepares for a return in the coming months.

Toolkit, additional funds boost community sport

THE community sporting landscape is set for a shake-up as it looks to return from the chaos of COVID-19.

Sport Australia yesterday released the Return to Sport Toolkit, with the aim of welcoming a safe return to community sport around the country.

The plan has set down four elements for a safe return, which are to implement plans, prepare facilities and participants, respond and recover to health concerns.

Some of the notable components of the plan include:

•             Undertaking planning for the possibility of further disruptions to play

•             Scheduling of time between events/training sessions to allow for movement in and out of facilities

•             Only essential participants should attend activities, only one person to accompany a child to sport

•             Team huddles, handshakes and high-fives to be avoided where practical

•             Participants encouraged to leave venue after playing, showering at home

•             Restrictions on use of communal facilities (including toilets, bars and canteens)

In addition to the release of the toolkit, the Queensland government announced a $53.1m package to help sports clubs prepare for the return.

Grants of up to $2000 will be available for sporting clubs to cover the costs of cleaning equipment and other essentials, with further grants of up to $20,000 on offer for minor works.

A further $10.8m has been set aside for an "active industry fund" for 77 state-level sporting and recreation organisations, while 73,000 vouchers will be made available to kids from low-income families to cover up to $150 of their sign-on fees.

The news of funding has been welcomed by sporting organisations, including Netball Queensland, with CEO Catherine Clark acknowledging it would be

"Netball will look different when we return, whether it's the sanitisation of netballs, strict hygiene procedures for participants or the monitoring of numbers at each venue," she said.

"It's going to take careful planning so it's great to see this package announced to help our community deal with the extra costs involved in the necessary steps to keep our community safe."

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said most sports clubs would need financial support to ensure they had the right checks in place.

"Getting back out on the field, in the pool or on the court is vitally important - it's part of our way of life, especially for our fitness and mental health," she said.

"Queenslanders have been working incredibly hard to keep themselves and their communities safe, however we can't become complacent.

"So, as we carefully start to resume training, sanitising balls, racquets and facilities before and after use is an absolute must to keep everyone and our communities safe."


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