Scouts WA boss ‘heartbroken and bewildered’ by State Government funding cut

Francis Capp (8) Bayswater, Thomas Brown (12) Bassendean and Arini Burnette (8) Caversham. About 750 Scouts will be impacted by the State Government''s decision to exclude Scouts WA as part of the eligible sporting clubs to apply for KidSports funding, after they changed their definition of a sport. Scouts WA members where previously eligible for a $200 voucher which is used to pay for club membership. The voucher is now worth $150. Five Bayswater Sea Scouts members will be lost as a result. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d478020
Francis Capp (8) Bayswater, Thomas Brown (12) Bassendean and Arini Burnette (8) Caversham. About 750 Scouts will be impacted by the State Government''s decision to exclude Scouts WA as part of the eligible sporting clubs to apply for KidSports funding, after they changed their definition of a sport. Scouts WA members where previously eligible for a $200 voucher which is used to pay for club membership. The voucher is now worth $150. Five Bayswater Sea Scouts members will be lost as a result. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d478020

BAYSWATER Sea Scouts Group leader Kevin Burbidge says the group will not be able to operate as effectively after scouts groups became ineligible for the KidSport funding program.

In December, the State Government advised Scouts WA that Scouts would no longer qualify to receive a $200 Kidsport voucher, which have helped families pay for membership fees since 2012.

The reduction from $200 to $150 was taken into effect on January 1 and the club eligibility criteria will be fully phased in over the following six months to July 1.

Scouts WA executive manager Sherry Donaldson said she was “heartbroken and bewildered” by the funding cut which would affect 750 kids.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said under the former Liberal-National Government, the club eligibility criteria were relaxed, allowing them to be accessed by organisations that were not generally recognised as offering a sport.

“The State Government agency administering the KidSport program uses the definition of sport and recognised sporting organisations as defined by the Australian Sports Commission…such organisations do not include Scouts,” he said.

“Their (Scouts WA) most recent annual report (2016-17) indicates a healthy final annual profit, which is more than the total annual KidSport subsidy provided to scouting children, as well as total organisational assets valued at more than $17 million.”

Bayswater group leader Kevin Burbidge said the group would lose about five scouts out of 93 and several parent volunteers.

“There are actually some of our committee members and fundraising members,” he said.

“The actual impact on the group is not losing kids but the parents and being able to operate the group as effectively as we do will be impacted.”

Mr Burbidge said being a highly volunteer-run and based organisation, all revenue was spent on operating the group and providing equipment.

“It is not like we have spare cash lying around that we could use to assist some of the members in maintaining their membership,” he said.

“I think it is probably worth saying that scouting as an undertaking is more than just getting outdoors and having good outdoor activity.

“It is also about giving people the opportunity to learn leadership skills that whilst still hands on but would not get through many activities.”

Ms Donaldson said Scouts helped kids become active and have less mental and physical health issues later in life.

“They are not all kids that necessarily want to go out and enjoy AusKick or a soccer club,” she said.

“We acknowledge that the government needs to make saving cuts…if they set it to $1`50 from $200 across the board, I guess we will have to absorb that but what we can’t absorb is the whole $200.”

She said she would be meeting with Mr Murray this month.

Mr Murray said Scouts WA would be able to access other government funding after it received a $218,475 Lotterywest grant in August 2017 and a $432,000 grant from the Department of Communities.

 Local Scout Groups:

City of Bayswater

– Bayswater Sea Scout Group
– Hampton Park Scout Group
– Morley Scout Group

City of Stirling

– Amelia Heights Scout Group
– Cambridge Scout Group
– Dianella Scout Group
– Tuart Hill Yokine Scout Group
– Hamersley Scout Group
– Karrinyup Scout Group
– North Beach Scout Group
– Scarborough Scout Group
– Wembley Downs Scout Group

City of Swan

– Ballajura Scout Group
– Beechboro Scout Group
– Ellenbrook Scout Group
– Gidgegannup Scout Group
– Hern Hill Scout Group
– Midland Scouts Group