Australia’s leading sport organisations have joined forces in a major fundraising effort to support bushfire affected communities.
Minister for Sport, Richard Colbeck, has commended the united front from the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia, Commonwealth Games Australia and the Australian Sports Foundation which today announce the unprecedented alliance.
Affected clubs and organisations will be able to apply for grants via the Recovery through Sport fund aimed at replacing sporting equipment and helping families pay for annual registrations and uniforms.
It will also open the door for visits from high profile athletes.
“Sporting clubs affected by the summer bushfires need our help now to ensure they can continue to operate in the future,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Sporting teams are often the heartbeat of local communities so it’s important clubs get the help they need to recover so the community can get back to playing sport as soon as possible”.
Affected clubs and community groups can now register their interest via the Australian Sports Foundation.
While the financial assistance will be aimed primarily at re-stocking equipment, it’s hoped families facing financial hardship as a result of the fires will be able to tap into the funding stream to ensure they retain local sport memberships.
“The Morrison Government is also working with the Australian Sports Foundation so tax-deductable donations can be made directly to affected sporting clubs,” Minister Colbeck said.
“I encourage all affected community sporting clubs to register online with the ASF to ensure they benefit from the generosity of people across the nation who are desperate to help communities recover as soon as possible.”
The Australian Olympic Committee has also provided an immediate $100,000 to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and made an ongoing commitment to support the rebuilding efforts.
It follows a wider effort from Australia’s major sporting organisations, through the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports, aimed at creating a national infrastructure fund to help with long term assistance.
The Government’s lead sport agency, Sport Australia, will also work with bushfire affected communities to assess the damage caused to projects that have been funded through its programs.
Minister Colbeck said the national audit would examine the extent of the works required and the likely cost of rebuilding essential community facilities.
“We are witnessing the sport community come together like never before and that is something to be extremely proud of,” he said.
The Federal Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Agency will also work closely with state and local governments to ensure financial assistance, via the $2 billion recovery fund, is released to organisations where needed.
Minister Colbeck commended the united commitment from several national sporting organisations including Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia, the AFL, the National Rugby League, Rugby Australia and the National Basketball League.
The AFL’s State of Origin and AFLW Bushfire Relief doubleheader kick-starts at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne tonight.
“Sport has always been a key part of Australian life — from our biggest cities to the smallest regional towns—and it brings people together,” he said.
“The time, energy and effort by these sporting organisations and individuals to fundraise and raise awareness will help our communities recover and thrive and I thank them for this passionate response.”
To make a donation or register see the Recovery Sports Foundation website.