Up to 700,000 students across Australia will be able to play more sport at school, with a re-elected Morrison government expanding the popular Schools Sport programme.
The expanded program will now be offered to secondary school students in Years 9 and 10, giving access to 35 national sports 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 Sports Schools scheme, to extend its reach to 2.9 million young people.
“Engaging more young people in sport helps keep our children active, builds confidence and provides a way for families to reconnect with community sports clubs as we bounce back from the pandemic,” the Prime Minister said.
“It also creates opportunities and connections to support students who want to pursue their athletic dreams and seek 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 two additional calendar years through the end of 2024.
Established by the Coalition Government in 2015, Schools Sport partners with 35 national sport organizations to provide free sporting activities to students of all abilities to help schools increase children’s participation in sport and connect them community sports opportunities outside of school.
The current program is offered to elementary schools and a targeted program to 7th and 8th graders in secondary schools. The additional $20 million will expand the program to 9th and 10th graders.
Expanding the program to include Years 9 and 10 will address the significant decline in sport participation, physical activity and social connectedness among high school students aged 12-16, particularly among girls.
More than 8,000 schools have received funding through this program, which now reaches more than 2.2 million students each year.
A re-elected Morrison government will also provide $4.8 million to help surf lifesaving clubs across Australia purchase vital lifesaving equipment.
The 314 surf lifesaving clubs will be able to access an additional $5,000 each year to make these important purchases, including IRBs, defibrillators, life boards and other safety equipment.
Sports Minister Richard Colbeck said the extension of Sports Schools to pupils in Years 9 and 10 increases the reach of the scheme to 1,800 secondary schools and a further 700,000 pupils, expanding the reach of Sports Schools to 2.9 million students each year.
“This marks a huge step forward as we continue to support the individual health and well-being of students at all levels,” said Minister Colbeck.
“Most importantly, the expansion will support the identification of talent among a cohort of children who could be our 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games athletes.
“After our athletes’ successful performances in Tokyo, there has never been a better time for our young sports stars to chart a course for their own success.”
These commitments build on the Coalition’s strong track record and support for sport in Budget 2022-2023, including:
- $10.3 million to continue the participation grant program, which has supported more than 500,000 people in community sport
- $10.3 million to promote leadership and professional development for women in sport, particularly community sport
- Extending high-level sport funding to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the first funding has been allocated for the full Games cycle, allowing sports to plan ahead with greater certainty
- $10.6 million in addition to existing high performance funding for Paralympics Australia to support and prepare the Australian Paralympic Team
- Ensure and support 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