Funding opportunity - Blowing the Whistle on sport facilities

Wednesday April 3, 2024

Federal Member for Nicholls, Sam Birrell MP, is encouraging sporting clubs to apply for the Federal Government’s Play Our Way grant program as he continues to train with clubs and sees firsthand the need for facility upgrades.

Mr Birrell has kicked off the 2024 football and netball season, training with 4 clubs as he continues to tackle his goal to train with every football and netball club in Nicholls in a bid to meet with locals and shine the spotlight on the need for governments to support facility upgrades.

Mr Birrell has taken advantage of the 2024 pre-season and has trained with Undera, Yarrawonga Masters, Stanhope, and Rochester Football and Netball clubs.

Mr Birrell said training with grassroots clubs is an opportunity to hear directly from locals about what matters to them and keep up to date about what’s happening in their communities.

“Sports clubs are at the heart of many of our small towns and it is important for me to hear what matters to locals,” Mr Birrell said.

“It’s a fantastic way to meet people many of whom are heavily involved in their community and know what’s needed in their town.

“Joining clubs for a meal after a hard night of training is a highlight of my week; you really get an understanding of the people in our community and how I can best serve our region in Canberra,” he said.

Mr Birrell trained with more than a dozen football and netball clubs during the 2023 season and continues to see firsthand the poor state of many club facilities.

“There’s significant challenges faced by many clubs across the region, and many are in desperate need of upgrades to their facilities,” Mr Birrell said.

“Governments on all levels need to support clubs to thrive; we need to change the game so everyone can play.

“Clubs are a hub not only for physical activity but also social connections.

“We face a significant challenge and I continue to work on a policy platform to help improve facilities for our grassroots community sporting clubs,” he said.

The Government is currently providing $200 million for the Play Our Way program which will run over three years from 2024-25 to 2026-27.

The program will provide funding for local solutions and improvements that address participation barriers faced by women and girls.

The competitive grant is open to local governments, community organisations, not-for-profit organisations, and sporting organisations.

Mr Birrell said the grants aimed to identify projects that provided safe, inclusive, and sustainable facilities, equipment, and initiatives as well as help women and girls remain involved in sport.

“More often than not, clubs require facility upgrades and it’s important no opportunity is missed by community-based sporting clubs to address the growing need for better standards that reflect and support the growing participation of women and girls,” Mr Birrell said.

Mr Birrell said he’s looking forward to getting around to as many clubs as he can during the 2024 season and wishes players the best of luck as many clubs begin their fight to finals this weekend.

For more information about the Play Our Way Program please contact Sam Birrell’s office or email