NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Minister for Sport and Recreation Gabrielle Upton and NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith today announced the largest grassroots grants program in the history of Rugby League.
The new ‘NSW Footy Facilities Fund’ will see the NSW Government and the NRL invest $1 million each into a funding program to support junior and senior Rugby League clubs upgrade or build new facilities.
This may include spending on items such as new seating, goal posts, canteens, lights, fields, fencing, drainage, dressing rooms or storage facilities.
To secure a grant of up to $75,000 from the joint investment fund, local Rugby League clubs must be able to match the grant through their own financial or in-kind contribution, including obtaining some support from the council if the facilities are on council land.
Overall this will create the opportunity for a total investment pool of $4 million to be spent on Rugby League facilities across the state.
“This is great news for grassroots Rugby League and the future of the game in NSW,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“This is an investment which makes sense because it’s absolutely vital people of all ages keep active and it will be a great incentive by ensuring their facilities are up to scratch,” he said.
“We want young kids out running around playing Rugby League on the footy field instead of in front of the computer screen.
"I congratulate and thank the NRL for teaming up with the NSW Government to create the 'NSW Footy Facilities Fund' which will put a spring in the step of people who love Rugby League."
Minister Upton said the O’Farrell Government is determined to keep increasing participation in sport.
“The ‘NSW Footy Facilities Fund’ is all about ensuring grassroots Rugby League is well resourced, making it even more attractive for both juniors and adult players,” Minister Upton said.
“This is about building change rooms to be proud of, upgrading canteens, or installing lights that allows teams to train in the depths of winter.
“Providing players with good facilities can be the difference between getting them playing the game or losing them to the iPad or Xbox.
“Local Rugby League clubs run on the blood, sweat and tears of tireless volunteers who work so hard to raise funds to make their club the very best. The ‘NSW Footy Facilities Fund’ will allow them to tap into funding and fast track their improvement plans.”
Mr Smith said the NRL and the NSW Government have worked together to deliver an effective program that will improve the standard of Rugby League grounds and facilities and deliver participation, safety and social benefits to local NSW communities.
“Through working in partnership we can drive investment of more than $4 million and deliver better results for Rugby League clubs across the state,” he said.
“Our mini football (ages 5 to 9) player numbers grew by more than 5 per cent last year across Australia and this program will ensure better facilities are in place to support our NSW players.
“This grant program will also help deliver social and economic outcomes for many communities across the state, from Wagga Wagga to Wollondilly, Ballina to Broken Hill, by creating jobs and building community facilities.
“The support from the NSW Government for grassroots Rugby League clubs has been fantastic and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this new program come to life over the next few years.”
Details of the ‘NSW Footy Facilities Fund’ and how to apply can be found here.
Clubs are encouraged to download the grant guidelines to ensure their applications meet the objectives of the program, which include:
• Increase regular and on-going participation opportunities in rugby league in a safe and sustainable manner; and
• Improve the standard of rugby league grounds and facilities for participation, safety and social benefits.
The project should address both of the objectives.