Steph Ryan demands extra funding for clubs

By Liam Nash

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan voiced her concern for grassroots sporting clubs in the region yesterday, deeming a funding package released by the Victorian Government inadequate to properly mitigate financial stress placed on organisations during the current climate.

As a part of the $40 million Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package introduced by the Andrews Government, individual clubs are entitled to $1000 — a figure Ryan considers insufficient.

“The government’s short-term survival package quite frankly just doesn’t just go far enough,” Ryan said.

“Across country Victoria, sporting clubs are feeling the brunt of the government’s restrictions and many are struggling to make ends meet.

“The AFL is telling leagues that they can determine their own schedule, some leagues such as the Heathcote District Football Netball League and the KDFL have already made the decision to cancel their whole season, but others such as the GVFL are still toying with the idea of playing a truncated number of games.

“The inherent difficulty here is that without crowds, football and netball clubs have no gate revenue and few feel they can go to their sponsors seeking cash at a time when sponsors are also doing it very tough.

“It is easy to say we’ll just cancel, but clubs are worried that if there is no season they will lose their players to other leagues.”

Outside of the football-netball sector, Ryan said she had been contacted by various clubs in regard to financial support.

She mentioned a lack of functions had already crippled some organisations, who will likely suffer further if the funding limit is not increased in the near future.

“Without bar sales, green fees, social meals and two scheduled tournaments the Avenel Bowling Club is $8000-$10 000 out of pocket since mid-March, but has ongoing expenses,” she said.

“In Kilmore, the golf club is in a precarious financial position; unless further funding is made available, they need government support to alleviate a dire financial situation which will only see them only get through until next month.

“For many clubs, a $1000 grant simply doesn’t go far enough.”

So far, three clubs in the Goulburn Valley have been approved in the electorate, with Numurkah Football Netball Club, Cobram-Yarroweyah United Cricket Club and Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club set to benefit from the package.