The Victoria Daly Regional Council (VDRC) says the current level of Northern Territory and Federal Government funding for the council’s sport and recreation program is inadequate, calling for an immediate funding boost for the program.
The VDRC’s Get Active Program (GAP) currently receives around $550,000 per year ($150,000 from the NTG and $405,000 from the Federal Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency) to deliver sport and recreation programs across the seven remote communities of Kalkarindji, Pine Creek, Timber Creek, Nauiyu, Yarralin, Amanbidji and Bulla.
Designed in collaboration with community members and leaders, the GAP is an initiative encouraging community-wide health and wellbeing through diverse programs targeting all ages and abilities.
Research has found that sport and social activities in Indigenous communities can improve school attendance, enhance cultural connectedness, reduce anti-social behaviour and offending behaviour, improved life-skills, improve social and emotional well-being, create employment opportunities and develop greater Elder values.
The program’s strategic priorities align with the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments plans to build resilient communities, as well as Victoria Daly’s strategic priority to support the region to build mentally, emotionally and physically strong communities.
But Brian Pedwell, the VDRC Mayor, said the current funding provided by the Northern Territory and Federal Governments was severely inadequate.
“When you take into account the cost of paying for staff, equipment, facilities maintenance, administration, staff housing, recruitment and more, $550,000 a year is just not enough money,” Pedwell said.
“There is a lot of potential for GAP to make a huge difference for our young people and children. At the moment, that’s just not happening.”
Pedwell said that because the communities were situated approximately four to five hours drive from one another, sport and recreation facilitators were required to live in the communities full-time.
Ideally, he said the funding would cover a full-time facilitator in each community, as well as adequate staff housing in community.
Last week, the council delivered the GAP report to a number of Territory Government ministers in a bid to secure adequate funding for the program.
“We call on the Northern Territory Government and the Federal Government to rethink the funding committed to this program,” Pedwell said.
“If we want to see any kind of progress towards the Federal Government Closing the Gap targets, funding effective sport and recreation programs in remote communities is critical.”
As outlined in the report, programs for communities could include:
- Strong mind strong body: A program educating all ages and abilities on how to say no to alcohol and drugs, self-defence towards alcohol, and understanding the impacts of alcohol and drugs on your body and family.
- Father and son program: Projects to enhance the physical, social, and emotional well-being of boys. Delivered in community and organised trips such as camping and hunting.
- Mums and bubs: Learning and family support programs, outings, sports and social gatherings.
- Family run/walk sessions: Morning and afternoon group running and walking sessions.
- Dances: Social gatherings for different ages, junior, teenage and senior dances.
- Sports for all: Inclusive activities such as boccia, softball for all abilities, line dancing and badminton sessions.
See a full copy of the report here.
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