Cricket Australia today announced more than $35 million will be injected into state and territory associations over the three-year period to improve facilities and cricketing experience for players, coaches and volunteers and significantly grow and support community cricket.
Queensland Cricket will add 11 new staff specifically to work alongside the existing 25 employees who work in the field delivering cricket programs and coaching to schools and clubs.
The new Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund will see Queensland Cricket’s infrastructure budget increase to $1 million this year allowing QC greater opportunity to assist associations and clubs leverage funding partners to deliver priority projects.
Clubs and Associations which choose to run the new Woolworths Cricket Blast programs will receive a direct financial benefit by retaining a percentage of every participant’s registration fee at their club in the entry-level and junior programs that are being rolled out for the first time this season.
Queensland Cricket Chief Executive Officer Max Walters welcomed the funding announcement and highlighted several instances where clubs and associations would benefit.
“There is funding allocated to assist clubs and associations to initiate and grow ‘girls only’ teams and competitions like the very successful Heat Girls Leagues that have proved very popular in the past few seasons,’’ he said.
“Free community coaching courses have helped grow the number of qualified coaches through our clubs and associations and there is greater funding than ever to expand the number of coaches who help provide great experiences for players.”
“The additional field force staff will greatly assist Queensland Cricket to deliver on our strategic vision, especially in regional areas, to attract and retain participants.
“With less cricket being played ‘organically’ by kids in backyards and parks, the additional roles allow us to ensure children can have more cricket experiences in schools, and that these experiences can be the catalyst for joining a club. We have 57 Associations and 196 clubs with a junior section so that remains a vital pillar in cricket’s standing in our community.”
Continued growth in participation in cricket in Queensland will also be supported by increased funding being made available for new and improved cricket facilities and infrastructure at the grass roots.
Mr Walters said funding increases to address priority infrastructure demands was timely, with a growing requirement for more female-friendly facilities at clubs and a desire to light more grounds to increase use beyond daylight hours.
“We strive to be a sport of choice for government and the additional funding through the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund helps us to assist clubs to leverage funding from Government and Council grant programs, and other funding sources,” Mr Walters said.
Cricket Australia’s Executive General Manager of Community Cricket, Belinda Clark AO said the investment is an important commitment and supports the sport’s vision to create the best participation experiences with a focus on growing junior cricket.
“Last year we conducted our first national audit of community cricket facilities assessing 7,100 ovals, 3,500 practice facilities and 3,000 changerooms,” said Ms Clark.
“The results of this audit suggest that based on population growth and cricket participation trends, 1,400 additional ovals are required nationwide over the next decade to provide communities with appropriate playing facilities.
“An extra 270 community cricket facility projects will be targeted annually over the next three years thanks to the additional funding.”
“With the continued roll out of new and exciting game formats for juniors, the launch of the new Woolworths Cricket Blast Program and record numbers of girls signing up to play cricket, it’s a very exciting time for our game. We look forward to working with cricket community across the country to bring this vision to life,” she said.
The funding announcements are effective immediately, with staffing numbers to be increased across the season.