State Government must protect at-risk community sports clubs

Federal Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell, has written to the State Sport Minister, Jane Howlett, calling for a community sport strategy to protect the futures of Tasmanian clubs at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Labor MP says the indefinite postponement of community sport seasons in 2020 will put some Tasmanian community sports clubs at risk of having to permanently close their doors, which would be a huge loss to local communities.

“Local clubs have spent significant amounts of money preparing for the season, and now have no way to recoup those expenditures from gate takings and bar and canteen sales,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The role these clubs play across our regional communities is far too important to simply leave them to struggle and eventually fold.

Mr Mitchell said some clubs were exposed to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, and if they could not recoup the money faced insolvency and permanent closure.

“Our community sports clubs need support to survive this cancelled season and we need to ensure that they do.”

Mr Mitchell said Tasmania has 96 Aussie Rules clubs, around 45 are in Lyons, each fielding multiple sides including across age groups and genders, 108 soccer clubs, 22 athletics clubs and 23 pony clubs, as well as netball, bowls, tennis and other organisations.