NSW Nationals Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen has announced sports organisations in his electorate have shared in $4.6 million of grants to purchase equipment, improve facilities and increase participation opportunities.

Mr Johnsen said the grants would assist local sporting organisations as COVID-19 restrictions slowly eased.

“Sport is a vital part of the fabric of the communities in our Upper Hunter electorate,” Mr Johnsen said.

“These grants, which total $86,240 for our Upper Hunter electorate, will provide essential funds to help our local organisations increase participation as we slowly ease restrictions and will benefit our community in the long run.

“Some organisations will buy uniforms for kids to relieve financial pressures on families whilst others will increase female participation and leadership in sport.”

Supporting communities

Deputy Premier and NSW Nationals Leader John Barilaro said Regional NSW will benefit from more than $2 million in grants for local communities, which will particularly help those affected by drought, bushfires and COVID-19.

“Drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 pandemic have created significant uncertainty for sport in NSW, particularly in regional areas,” Mr Barilaro said.

“We are all looking forward to seeing community sport return to normal when it is safe to do so and this money will provide vital funds to help organisations be ready to resume as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.”

Mr Johnsen said the Local Sport Grants Program awarded sporting organisations up to $20,000 for projects which focused on development and participation, access and facility development.

“People in the bush love sport and this money will be a massive boost for regional sporting organisations, which not only help our communities stay active and healthy but also perform a vital role keeping people connected,” Mr Johnsen said.

“Women’s sport has experienced enormous success and growth both on and off the field in recent years and we want that momentum to be revived after the worst of COVID-19 has passed.

“During this time the Nationals in Government remain committed to supporting all the facets of our communities in rural and regional NSW, and sport will continue to play an important part moving forward.”