Chil­dren may miss out as KidS­port el­i­gi­bil­ity tight­ens

Pilbara News - - Sport - Sophia Con­stan­tine and Liam Croy

The Port Hed­land Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion is among many sport­ing clubs that fear WA chil­dren could miss out on club sport this year af­ter the pre­vi­ous State govern­ment tight­ened KidS­port el­i­gi­bil­ity rules.

KidS­port pro­vides vouch­ers worth up to $200 to fam­i­lies which would oth­er­wise strug­gle to af­ford fees and equip­ment.

Since the pro­gram started in 2011, boys and girls aged five-18 have been el­i­gi­ble for KidS­port as­sis­tance if listed on a Health Care Card or Pen­sioner Con­ces­sion Card.

Port Hed­land Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Tracy Swami said the club was wor­ried about the im­pact the changes would have as the club had al­ready had a few ap­pli­ca­tions come through since the sea­son started.

“We have had kids rec­om­mended to our club through the Youth In­volve­ment Coun­cil in pre­vi­ous years and we are wor­ried we won’t be able to take them in this year,” she said.

Last sea­son, the PHNA had a large num­ber of mem­bers ap­ply through KidS­port, as well as 10 in­takes from YIC.

“I can imag­ine this will have a mas­sive im­pact across all sport­ing clubs,” Ms Swami said.

Depart­ment of Sport and Recre­ation chief ex­ec­u­tive Ron Alexan­der said de­mand for the vouch­ers had out­stripped the pro­gram’s bud­get and the changes were de­signed to en­sure they went to the most needy.

Mr Alexan­der said KidS­port ap­provals in 2017 were higher than in the same pe­riod last year.

Un­til this year, they could also be en­dorsed for KidS­port by a “re­fer­ral agent” who be­lieved sport would ben­e­fit them.

Re­fer­ral agents were com­mu­nity lead­ers such as teach­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers, so­cial work­ers and doc­tors.

The re­fer­ral agent sys­tem has been scrapped and re­placed by fi­nan­cial as­ses­sors who must de­ter­mine if fam­i­lies meet any of the four “fi­nan­cial ex­cep­tions”.

Those ex­cep­tions in­clude the death or se­ri­ous ill­ness of a guardian, a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter which causes sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial im­pact, the place­ment of a child into care, and the sud­den and in­vol­un­tary loss of em­ploy­ment by the main earner with­out a re­dun­dancy pay­ment.

I can imag­ine this will have a mas­sive im­pact across all sport­ing clubs. Tracy Swami

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