The Gillard Government is supporting Pacific island countries to develop healthier communities through sport.
Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport, and Senator Matt Thistlethwaite, Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, today announced the opening of the Pacific Sports Partnerships, a $14 million competitive grants program funded by AusAID and managed by the Australian Sports Commission.
"Sport is a wonderful driver for social inclusion and for development, which is why we are providing grants of up to $2.5 million per selected sport to help achieve development outcomes in the Pacific."
"We all know that a sporty nation is a healthy nation. But, sport can offer so much more," Minister for Sport Senator Kate Lundy said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Senator Matt Thistlethwaite explained that the Pacific Sports Partnerships Program has been supported through Australia's aid program since 2010 and has partnered with a range of sports including cricket, football, netball, rugby league and rugby union.
"Sport promotes an active and healthy lifestyle and creates an avenue to increase the participation of people with disability in social and community life," Senator Thistlethwaite said.
"There are an estimated 800,000 people with disability in the Pacific who face numerous barriers to accessing the same opportunities for social and economic well-being as others.
"That's why the next phase of the program will support Australian sport organisations to work with Pacific sport organisations to use sport as a vehicle to help address non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and improve the lives of people with disability.
"Activities under the program will also empower girls and women and promote safe and more secure communities."
Senator Lundy noted that the Pacific Sports Partnerships' activities have successfully increased the participation of Pacific Islanders in regular sport activities, leading to improved health outcomes.
"As many as 270,000 people participated in Pacific Sports Partnerships activities in 2011-12 alone," Senator Lundy said.
"Just one example of success is where 65 per cent of women who participated in the Vanuatu Women's Island Cricket Pilot Project reported a reduction in blood pressure."
The objectives of the Pacific Sports Partnerships are to:
- increase regular participation of Pacific islanders in quality sport activities
- improve health behaviours of Pacific islanders relating to non-communicable diseases
- improve attitudes towards and increased inclusion of people with disability in Pacific communities.
Australian sporting organisations can contact the Australian Sports Commission for further information about the grants program. Grants are capped at $2.5 million for four years for each sports partnership. Sports will be selected through a competitive grants process.
- Parliamentary Secretary's Office: (02) 6277 3545
- Departmental Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555