Labor pledges to expand inclusive sport

May 20, 2022 BY

Senator Don Farrell (second from right) and Corangamite Labor federal member Libby Coker (second from left) with Get Skilled Access inclusion coach Penelope Bunn, participant Alex Blanden, consultant Dr Lisa Chaffey and inclusion coach Travis Zimmer. Photo: JAMES TAYLOR

A PROGRAM promoting and growing inclusive sport being piloted in Geelong would be greatly expanded across the nation if Labor wins this Saturday’s federal election.

Last week, Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism Senator Don Farrell and Corangamite federal member Libby Coker announced an Albanese Labor Government would put an extra $10.34 million into Get Skilled Access (GSA), which runs the Sports 4 All (S4A) program.

The City of Greater Geelong is one of five local government areas (LGAs) now running a pilot of S4A, which involves a employing a person with disability or lived experience of disability as an Inclusion Coach in each LGA to help deliver the program at the grassroots level to sporting clubs and schools.

Labor’s pledge will extend S4A to 80 LGAs across regional, remote and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, determined in consultation between S4A and the federal government.

Senator Farrell and Ms Coker visited the Nimble Hits Indoor Sports Stadium in Bell Park to make commitment alongside GSA chief executive officer Danielle Fraillon and GSA representatives.

“Labor believes all Australians should have the chance to enjoy sport,” Senator Farrell said.

“Sport’s benefits include boosting our mental and physical health, supporting community connectivity and social inclusion, and much more.

“Expanding Sport4All will help skill up schools and sporting clubs to provide even more and better opportunities for Australians with a disability to participate in their favourite sports.”

Ms Coker said Labor’s commitment was exciting not just for the LGAs in the Geelong region but across Australia.

“I’m looking forward to working with local councils across my region and people in the disability sector to ensure more young people in particular but people of all ages with a disability have opportunities.

“As we know, there’s challenges enough, but if we can encourage participation in sport locally, people with disabilities really want to get involved, and this is going to make that possible.”

GSA was founded by champion wheelchair tennis player and 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, and Dr Lisa Chaffey – Alcott’s first wheelchair basketball coach and now a GSA consultant – was at last week’s commitment.

“One of the things we like at GSA is that we have a phrase: ‘We call people in, we don’t call them out’. We are encouraging club members and students and staff at schools to be confident around disability and understand that people with disability are people – they might want to play the sport, they might want to be in the tuckshop, they might want to be on the board.”