Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee today announced that Round Four of the $100 million Stronger Country Communities Fund will have a regional sports focus, with up to $50 million to be made available for the delivery and enhancement of women’s sporting facilities, including change rooms.
Mr Barilaro said a lack of adequate facilities can be a barrier to female participation in sport and this funding will provide new and improved amenities to make it easier for girls and women to dominate on the field or courts.
“The NSW Nationals are building a safer and stronger regional NSW and these new facilities will increase participation and allow women and girls to receive the social and health benefits associated with sport,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Women have been flying the flag for Australian sport with our international teams achieving incredible status on the world platform, and many of these athletes come from regional communities.
“Too many women participating in local soccer, AFL, rugby or cricket matches in rural and regional locations don’t have access to suitable changing facilities so the NSW Government has committed this funding to level the playing field.
“Access to designated female change rooms will be of huge benefit to our future Matildas, Opals, Hockeyroos, Jillaroos and Wallaroos, as well as local athletes.”
Mr Lee said the provision of new and improved female change rooms is a step that will encourage more women to step out on the court or field.
“Some of Australia’s best sporting talents are women from regional NSW, and we want to see more females showcasing their talent at a grassroots level,” Mr Lee said.
“In many areas of regional NSW there is a shortage of female dedicated change facilities and amenities which can be off-putting, so this funding will be a huge win for women and girls who would have otherwise been deterred from playing sport.”
Minister for Women and Regional Youth Bronnie Taylor said women have been proudly stepping up to the plate, pitch or pool for years now and this next round of the Stronger Country Communities Fund will address a barrier for females when it comes to entering local and regional sport.
“I know this funding will be warmly welcomed by female athletes in regional communities who will now face one less barrier to taking up a sport,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Clubs and community sport provide friendship, fitness and a lot of fun and I’m delighted that this funding has been made available as a means of boosting participation in women’s sport.”
The remaining $50 million of the Stronger Country Communities Fund Round Four will be made available for further high quality community amenity and sports-related infrastructure projects to meet strong demand.
Applications for Round Four of the program will be open from 1 May. Guidelines and information about eligible applicants will be available on the Regional Growth Fund website in coming months.