Inner West Independent

Inner West Council to prepare fee support for sporting clubs impacted by COVID-19 lockdown

Inner West sporting clubs will be aided from Council after the winter season was abruptly ended earlier this year. Photo: Facebook/Newtown Breakaways FC.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

Inner West Council will prepare a report on waiving ground hire fees for sporting clubs whose seasons were cancelled after Sydney entered a mandatory lockdown on June 26. 

The report will be prepared after the neighbouring Canterbury-Bankstown and Canada Bay Councils both waived similar ground hire fees due to the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Councillor Victor Macri, who moved the motion at a council meeting this month, had raised the idea of waiving fees in the past after most clubs could not continue with their competitions in the latter half of the year. 

“What I’m seeking is a report … [in] crediting the whole season for the next season because of the disruptions,” Clr Macri told the meeting. 

“I think we need to look at that possibility … to credit them for next season because of the lack of ability to play in this season, if we have the capacity to do that.” 

Council’s Sporting Ground Allocation policy requires that winter sporting clubs are invoiced one month after the commencement of their respective sporting season. For most winter sporting clubs, this was in mid-April, with Council disclosing that the majority of clubs have “paid the full amount of their season winter allocations”. 

Council officers have advised all winter sporting clubs that they will be issued allocation credits for the 2022 season, with the financial impact estimated to result in $200,000 of lost revenue. 

“We could do nothing else but waive the fees,” Councillor Julie Passas, who seconded the motion, told the meeting. 

Throughout the lockdown period, sporting grounds have been maintained and a full spring renovation programme has also commenced. 

Following suit 

The call to lessen the financial burden on Inner West sporting clubs came after Canterbury-Bankstown Council’s decision to waive winter ground hire costs, whereby over $261,000 would remain with local organisations. 

Clr Macri initially suggested a report detailing Council assistance to Inner West local sporting clubs in a September meeting as an amendment to a COVID-19 community support motion moved by Councillor Darcy Byrne. 

After discussion with Mayor Rochelle Porteous and Council officers, the proposed amendment was deemed not relevant to the subject matter and ruled out of order. Council advised Clr Macri to move a separate motion relating to the waiving of sporting ground fees at a future meeting. 

Macri’s motion was supported unanimously by councillors and will mean that a report will be prepared by Council officers to convey the ability to waive the fees for sporting ground hire to assist Inner West sporting clubs. 

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