Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty has encouraged grassroots football and netball clubs to apply for grants of up to $100,000 to improve their facilities through the Country Football and Netball Program.
Delahunty explained the grants program is part of the Victorian Government’s commitment to deliver sustainable, high quality and accessible sport and recreation facilities across the state and aims to enable local football and netball clubs to make the improvements they need to encourage more residents to lead a healthier lifestyle and to promote sustainable building.
While more than half of the world’s population is living in urban areas, in Australia there is a growing concern about the connection between the built environment and citizens’ health. Building environments that encourage sport and physical activities can offer direct health benefits.
Governments and urban planners are delivering policies and strategies that connect the traditional notions of urban design - land use, transport, community and sport facilities, housing and open space - with health concepts, such as physical activity, healthy eating, the natural environment and citizens’ mental health.
The new funding assistance of up to $100,000 is available for upgrades to existing sport facilities as well as for new infrastructure, including sports lighting installations, netball court developments, football oval resurfacing and development of change spaces for umpires and female participants.
The program’s objective is to include clubs, associations and umpiring organisations in rural, regional and outer metropolitan locations. Delahunty said that as well as encouraging participation in sports and contributing to the health and well-being of citizens, the initiative will help to stimulate local economies by creating jobs during the construction stage.
Because the construction and operation of buildings has a significant direct and indirect impact on the environment, applicants must include Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles in their designs, whether they are for new buildings or renovations of existing buildings.
Some programs have a compulsory ESD component. For example, Sport and Recreation applications for Major Facilities, Seasonal Pools and Better Pools programs require at least 20 per cent of the grant amount to be allocated to components that will improve energy or water efficiency and environmental sustainability.
The sustainable design initiative aims to reduce the depletion of energy, water and raw materials, to prevent the environmental degradation caused by infrastructure facilities throughout their lifecycle and to create built environments that are liveable, comfortable, safe and productive.
The program highlights six fundamental ESD principles: optimising the size of new buildings and/or the potential of existing structures; optimising energy use through passive solar design and natural ventilation systems; protecting and preserving water; using environmentally friendly and green materials; enhancing indoor environmental quality; and optimising operational and maintenance practices.
Applicants are encouraged to quantify the outcomes their ESD features are expected to achieve. These could include the initial capital costs, running cost savings, energy savings, emission reductions or water savings.