Local clubs get the crumbs while the AFL get a handout

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell has condemned Daniel Andrews for handing our local community sports groups a raw deal, while doling out harbour-side land in the heart of Melbourne to the AFL for free.

In a parliamentary inquiry this week, Treasurer Tim Pallas admitted he had no idea of the value of the land recently gifted by the Andrews Labor Government to the AFL – an organisation that does not pay tax – to develop a new headquarters at Docklands.

The Treasurer also confirmed to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee there was no effort to analyse if the deal would benefit taxpayers.

“Daniel Andrews is prepared to gift the AFL prime land worth – apparently – millions of dollars, while our grassroots sports clubs are left with the scraps,” Mrs Britnell said.

“We’ve got the Reid Oval in Warrnambool which is in desperate need of upgrade; the facilities there are not up to any sort of modern standard and are an OH&S risk.

“There are sporting grounds and clubs right across the south-west that need female changing facilities, improved disability access, lighting or just the basics like undercover spectator areas.”

The $225 million for the AFL could, based on current State Government grant guidelines, cover grants for – 2,250 country football and netball clubs, 75 aquatic centres or 900 small swimming pool upgrades.

It was also revealed at PAEC that grassroots clubs would be forced to pay three per cent interest on loans to upgrade local facilities.

Shadow Minister for Sport Danny O’Brien said grassroots sport was getting a raw deal from the Andrews Labor Government.

“It beggars belief that Daniel Andrews is giving a free kick to the AFL while slapping our community sports clubs with interest-bearing loans to upgrade their facilities,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Anyone involved in sport at the grassroots level could point to a club rooms that needs replacing, a stadium that needs a new roof or a playing field that needs work.

“The Liberal Nationals will back grassroots sport. We’ll divert any funds from the Etihad Stadium deal that we can into grassroots sports.”

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