Falcon: State Govt cuts to Kidsport program to hurt local scout group members

Cindy, Jesse, Jasmine and Leni Tams of the Falcon Scout Group are upset over a cut in funding Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d477921
Cindy, Jesse, Jasmine and Leni Tams of the Falcon Scout Group are upset over a cut in funding Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d477921

CUTS to the Kidsport program will have a detrimental impact on scout groups throughout WA, according to Scouts WA chief executive Sherry Donaldson.

She said criteria changes meant eligible parents would no longer be able to access Kidsport subsidies for their children to take part in Scouts.

Falcon Scout Group leader Cindy Tams said the funding changes would affect half of her 45 members.

“It will put pressure on families to afford coming to Scouts,” she said.

“The funding cuts will hit them.

“Many of our members have tried sport but do not continue due to various reasons.

“With Scouts, some of our members have disabilities and they can enjoy a variety of activities such as hiking and canoeing.”

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said the original intent of the State Government’s KidSport initiative was to reduce the financial barrier for children from lower socio-economic backgrounds to participate in organised community sport.

“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,” he said.

“The State Government agency administering the KidSport program uses the definition of sport and recognised sporting organisations as defined by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

“Such organisations do not include Scouts.”

But Ms Donaldson said Scouts fitted into their definition of sport.

“Physical activity is what we do – we’re all about physical activity it’s what we’re all about,” she said.

“Our program also runs all year, not just for eight weeks.

“They want kids to be physically active and to be part of a club and we fit both of those.

“We think we’re doing a good job, they’ve now just decided ‘no longer’.”

Mr Murray said the Scouts movement was professionally and profitably managed with a high level of sustainability.

“Their 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.

“Scouts also have paid staff that help manage and promote their activities.

“In contrast, more than half of the formally recognised sports (by the ASC) in WA and their many clubs that offer community participation, rely solely on unpaid volunteers.”

Mr Murray said the Scouts could access other sources of government funding via the Department of Communities’ Youth budget for the provision of services and programs and through Lotterywest grants.

“I acknowledge and appreciate the valuable work that Scouts do in the community and the great social, educational, physical activity and experiential opportunities the organisation offers to those who join,” he said.

“KidSport has become increasingly successful since it started in 2011-12.

“More children are joining sporting clubs every year with the help of KidSport funding.”

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