Call for Active Kids to race across the Border

STARS: Under 8's Wodonga Heart's Oliver Clear and Albury United's Evan Sergi. Children living in Albury can make the most of the scheme, while their Victorian counterparts miss out. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
STARS: Under 8's Wodonga Heart's Oliver Clear and Albury United's Evan Sergi. Children living in Albury can make the most of the scheme, while their Victorian counterparts miss out. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

A Border organisation has called on other states to adopt the NSW government’s Active Kids program, as 4000 Albury children apply for the scheme within its first two weeks. 

Under the program, which runs from January 31 to December 31, parents and guardians across NSW can claim a $100 voucher to put towards their school-aged child’s sport and active recreation activities registration or participation costs.

Albury-Wodonga Football Association president Mark Leman said it was a fantastic program and Football NSW had ensured the organisation and clubs knew how to ensure children got the most out of the scheme. 

“The kids are reaping the benefits,” he said.

“We’d like to see it available for every child in Australia.

“We talk about children not being as active as they used to be and making sport more cost effective for families has to be a good thing.”

A spokesman for the NSW Sports Minister said to be eligible a child must live in NSW and the club or activity provider must be located and operating in NSW, meaning children who live in Wodonga but play or are educated in Albury, miss out. 

It comes as VicHealth revealed teenagers were struggling to do an hour of physical activity a day. 

Mr Leman said the Active Kids scheme was especially beneficial for families with multiple children involved in organised sport or activities. 

“You have three children, that’s a $300 saving,” he said.

“It’s a positive step to help families and also help children, it makes sport more cost effective especially for families with multiple children it’s a great thing. 

“It looks good initially and hopefully other states take it on board, my understanding is its only NSW at the moment, so hopefully others pick it up so all Australian children can get support to play their favourite sports.”

Member for Benambra in Victoria Bill Tilley said he wasn’t looking specifically at that scheme but was talking to sporting clubs and families about their broad concerns. 

“Anything that gets kids active is a good thing from our point of view encourages people to be a part of sport is fantastic,” he said.

“We’re out in the community at the moment taking the pulse of sporting clubs to find out where the challenges are for clubs, parents and children playing sport.

“Hopefully they’ll educate us and help inform future policy.”