Scout lead­ers an­gry

CUT TO KIDSPORT VOUCH­ERS A BLOW

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Thomas, Kristie Lim and Sarah Brookes

ELLENBROOK Scout Group lead­ers are dis­ap­pointed by a de­ci­sion to cut scout groups from the KidSport fund­ing pro­gram, mean­ing many chil­dren will be un­able to af­ford membership as of next year.

Last month, the State Gov­ern­ment an­nounced Scouts WA would no longer qual­ify for the fund­ing, which has pro­vided $200 to­wards membership fees since 2012.

The re­duc­tion from $200 to $150 came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1 and the club el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria will be phased in over the fol­low­ing six months to July 1.

Ven­turer Scout leader Karen Clark said the Ellenbrook Scouts would lose about six mem­bers, who cur­rently re­lied on the fund­ing, un­less other ar­range­ments could be made.

She said the an­nounce­ment was a blow to the chil­dren who loved be­ing in­volved in scouts.

“Th­ese are kids who don’t play other sports, but love be­ing part of Scouts, be­cause it keeps them so­cial, gives them skills, and aids their phys­i­cal and men­tal well­be­ing,” she said.

“It’s very dis­ap­point­ing that the State Gov­ern­ment can’t see that.”

She said the group was due to have a meet­ing next week to dis­cuss pos­si­ble op­tions for the chil­dren im­pacted by the cuts.

“I don’t think they will be able to af­ford to cover the costs and I’m not sure we will be able to, but we are meet­ing to see what we can do,” she said.

Mid­land Scouts group leader Michelle Wat­ters said within her group, 21 mem­bers re­ceived KidSport vouch­ers last year.

“The Mid­land group had 52 mem­bers last year and of that, 21 chil­dren used Kidsport fund­ing,” she said.

“We are a lower so­cioe­co­nomic area and many of th­ese kids won’t be able to af­ford to come back.”

Scouts WA ex­ec­u­tive manager Sherry Don­ald­son said she was “heart­bro­ken and be­wil­dered” by the fund­ing cut.

Ms Don­ald­son said Scouts helped kids be­come ac­tive and have less men­tal and phys­i­cal health is­sues later in life.

“They are not all kids that nec­es­sar­ily want to go out and en­joy Aus­Kick or a soc­cer club,” she said.

“We ac­knowl­edge that the Gov­ern­ment needs to make sav­ing cuts… if they set it to $1`50 from $200 across the board, I guess we will have to ab­sorb that but what we can’t ab­sorb is the whole $200.”

Sport and Recre­ation Min­is­ter Mick Mur­ray said un­der the for­mer Lib­eral-Na­tional Gov­ern­ment, the club el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria were re­laxed, al­low­ing them to be ac­cessed by or­gan­i­sa­tions not gen­er­ally recog­nised as of­fer­ing a sport.

“The State Gov­ern­ment agency ad­min­is­ter­ing the KidSport pro­gram uses the def­i­ni­tion of sport and recog­nised sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions as de­fined by the Aus­tralian

Sports Com­mis­sion… such or­gan­i­sa­tions do not in­clude Scouts,” he said.

Swan Hills MLA Jessica Shaw said there were a num­ber of ways the Mc­Gowan Gov­ern­ment sup­ported both kids sports and the scout­ing move­ment.

“Here in Swan Hills, I re­cently se­cured $3000 for the Eastern Hills troop to pur­chase equip­ment,” she said.

“Last year the Mc­Gowan Gov­ern­ment pro­vided $700,000 to Scouts WA through the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d478020

Scouts Fran­cis Capp, Thomas Brown and Arini Bur­nette. The State Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to ex­clude Scouts WA from el­i­gi­ble clubs to ap­ply for KidSport fund­ing.

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