Talented sports stars and teams from Far West NSW will be able to travel to games with ease thanks to a transport trial being introduced by the NSW Nationals.
Nationals Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said the Western Region Sport and Active Recreation Transport Program will subsidise the cost of fuel, bus hire, or other public transport on trips of 100 kilometres or more, saving money for families and clubs.
“This two-year pilot, starting on January 30, will help reduce barriers to participation in sport and active recreation, which local groups have identified as a challenge in the far west,” Mr Farraway said.
“When people have to travel hundreds of kilometres to play in a match or attend training for a representative side, the costs can be huge, particularly with the price of fuel at the moment.
“For instance, teams participating in the Outback Rugby League Cup competition can travel vast distances such as a 400-kilometre round trip from Broken Hill to Wilcannia or 300-kilometres from Wilcannia to Menindee.
“The cost of a round trip between Wilcannia and Broken Hill for a rugby league team to travel for competition is around $800 for fuel for six cars or $2,000 for fuel and hire of a bus.
“These are costs borne by players and their families, and subsidising their travel will help keep the pressure off household budgets and allow our young future sports stars to keep achieving their sporting dreams.”
Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council chairman, Michael Dabin, said the Western Region Sports and Active Recreation Transport Program will be a major boost to sport in the far west of NSW.
“The economy in these towns is relatively weak and fuel costs are high. These grants will only increase participation in sport and active recreation programs across these areas.
“We estimate the total cost of transport for participant travel in the Barwon Darling Rugby League competition in 2022 was $28,500.”
Cobar Swim Club President Simone Neyland said sport is important to towns like Cobar.
“Staying connected with sport and fitness is essential to the wellbeing of people, especially kids, but the distances to get involved can be huge and the costs can be a burden.
“I drive my son to swimming meets all over the western region and beyond. My nephew has to travel a long way to play in his rugby league competition, and there are many people who do this, so anything to help make these trips easier financially would be a huge help to many families I’m sure.”
The trial was developed after consulting with key groups including the Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council. The peak body is made up of members from the Country Rugby League, National Rugby League, Outback Rugby League, Barwon Darling Rugby League and other community members including the Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly.
Sporting teams, clubs, schools, and other not-for-profit organisations based in Cobar, Menindee, Wilcannia and Broken Hill can apply for assistance up to 14 days prior to attendance at an eligible competition or event.
The funding provided will be based on fuel costs and average fuel consumption by vehicle type, such as bus, mini-bus or car or the cost of a ticket on a public transport service such as train. Applications open on January 30.
More information is available at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/projects/programs/western-region-sport-and-active-recreation-transport-program