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Participation rates to plummet from KidSport cuts

Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman says a McGowan Government decision to reduce the value of KidSport vouchers and remove some club-based organisations from the program altogether will reduce participation rates of at-risk children and youth.

The cuts have reduced the value of KidSport vouchers from $200 to $150 per child and from 1 July 2018 access to some clubs and organisations, including Scouts WA, will no longer be available using the vouchers.

“This decision will impact at least 750 vulnerable youth that access Scouts WA to develop sporting and competitive skills, leadership and enjoy a sense of community involvement,” Mr Redman said.

“There are many clubs in WA that offer more than one-dimensional competition by encouraging participation in a range of sport and recreation-related activity.

“I fear they will be next on the chopping block as the McGowan Government preys on vulnerable West Australians to fund its extravagant election promises.”

Since being introduced by The Nationals WA in 2011, KidSport has helped more than 55,000 children in every part of WA access sport and recreation clubs.

More than 10,000 of those have been Aboriginal participants, 90 per cent of whom have signed up to clubs in regional WA.

It has resulted in a huge increase in club participation, building a sense of belonging, self-esteem and friendship among those joining clubs and meeting new people.

Nationals WA Sport and Recreation spokesman Peter Rundle said reducing voucher values and cutting some organisations from the program would have costly health and social ramifications.

“Active sport and recreation participation is essential for maintaining overall individual and community health and wellbeing,” he said.

“Reducing incentives for families whose children might otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in club-based sport and recreation detracts from healthy, active lifestyles the State Government should be promoting.

“The enormous success of the KidSport program should be met with increased government funding and support to meet demand.

“Unfortunately Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray seems indifferent to the slash and burn tactics employed by his government at the expense of ordinary West Australian families.”