Canberra cricket clubs' biggest financial burden is set to be wiped out as part of an ACT government recovery package worth $2.2 million to the region's sport sector.
The ACT government will waive hire fees for its sports grounds, Stromlo Forest Park criterium and running tracks, pool and lane hire, and public education facilities until March 31 next year.
It adds another six months onto the initial plan to waive hire fees until September 30 this year, which will see Cricket ACT's clubs avoid their biggest expenditure until the end of the 2020-21 season.
A government statement says the provision of these waivers will provide an equivalent of $2.2 million to the sector, on top of $4.7 million already committed from April to September.
Cricket ACT chief executive James Allsopp has lauded the decision after clubs lobbied to for a support package, with the association and its clubs using about 70 government grounds per week during the cricket season.
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"For our junior clubs and our senior clubs, ground hire costs is probably their most expensive expenditure line," Allsopp said.
"Given the challenges all of our cricket community faces amongst COVID, there are certainly going to be players and families facing financial hardship.
"We know the sponsorship environment is going to be challenging for small clubs given a lot of them are dependent on licenced clubs. To be able to reduce that expenditure line within our own budget is a great relief.
"From a Cricket ACT point of view, it relieves the pressures on the association to provide support to clubs.
"We're really pleased it has been extended until the end of March and we're really grateful to the government for producing a recovery package that is really going to help our sport during what is going to be the most complicated and complex season we have ever faced."
Cricket ACT officials are working with clubs to establish COVID-safe environments for their eventual return to play, targeting an October 17 start date with senior competitions to finish on the final weekend of March.