Pressure mounts for ACT government to subsidise kids' sport fees
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Pressure mounts for ACT government to subsidise kids' sport fees

John Barilaro has doubled down on subsidising kids' sports fees with the NSW deputy premier offering a second $100 rebate per child if they play organised sport.

The Active Kids initiative has been hugely popular in NSW but Canberra has again missed out, with no ACT government programs in place to help families in need of support.

Sport registration fees will be significantly cheaper for kids in NSW.

Sport registration fees will be significantly cheaper for kids in NSW. Credit:Shutterstock

Nine sports in Canberra are working with "every chance to play" - a charity that targets sponsors to help make playing sport more affordable for children in the capital.

Junior registrations for teenagers range from $150 to $350 depending on which sport the play, making it difficult for low-income families to pay for multiple children to join a team.

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'Every chance to play' founder Matt Topham said they're hoping to fund 300 scholarships this year but said they needed further commercial support.

"The ACT government have been pretty good, their response is sponsoring us and they're going to sanction an 'every chance to play' round across every sport this year," Topham said.

"So hopefully we'll raise some funds there. It's not for us to say whether they should be doing Active Kids sponsorships or not.

"The difference between our approach and other charities is we have a trusted referrers model, we check the families out and make sure they're deserving and get them through the process.

"We just want the ACT sports community to get behind us and spread the word and welcome our kids into their clubs. It’s going to be a big year for us."

Barilaro said the Active Kids program was about keeping children active and supporting families who were doing it tough.

"We’re encouraging kids to get out and play sport and we know registration fees for clubs are sometimes and impost on families, cost of living is a real issue for families," Barilaro said.

"We’ve seen the success of one, helping the household budget, and two, getting kids active and that’s why the NSW government has doubled our kid's sport rebate.

"Kids play winter sport and summer sport and we don't want them to miss out."

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Barilaro has also committed $35,000 to the Rick Stuart Foundation which will be spent on a feasibility study for an independent living facility for people with disabilities.

Canberra Raiders coach Stuart praised the funding and Barilaro's Active Kids program.

"What John has done is very innovative and it’s going to help a lot of families," Stuart said.

"You probably don’t understand with registration fees and insurance, how expensive it is for families when you’ve got two, three, four children and you’re not on a great wage.

"We all complain about children sitting by the TV too often, and playing computer games too much, this is a great way of getting them out there and getting involved in sport."

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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