The Queensland Government and the Australian Football League (AFL) have teamed up with an $8 million partnership to support new community AFL facilities.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan, Queensland Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Member for Greenslopes Joe Kelly and Head of AFL Queensland Trish Squires were on hand at Coorparoo AFC to make the announcement this morning.
Member for Greenslopes Joe Kelly welcomed the launch of the partnership which will see the AFL match the Queensland Government’s Grand Final Infrastructure Legacy funding dollar for dollar.
"This is good news for grass-roots, community AFL clubs across Queensland like Coorparoo AFC with plans to upgrade infrastructure for a growing player list," Mr Kelly said.
"Coorparoo has a strong female program from juniors through to the Queensland Australian Football League Women’s competition (QAFLW) and is putting together a masterplan to upgrade lighting and facilities."
Queensland Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the $8 million partnership was part of the legacy of hosting last year’s historic AFL Grand Final at the Gabba.
"Last year, Queensland played a critical role in helping the AFL deliver the 2020 Premiership season during the COVID pandemic and made history at the Gabba as the first ever AFL Premiership Grand Final played outside of Melbourne," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"The AFL Grand Final Infrastructure Legacy, matched dollar for dollar by the League, has created an $8 million pipeline of funding to support community AFL clubs to upgrade their facilities and grow the game in Queensland.
"Since 2014, we’ve seen a huge shift with girls and women now making up 42 per cent of AFL players on ovals across Queensland, so it’s important that we work together to make sure facilities can be used by everybody.
"The AFL Grand Final Infrastructure Legacy makes new funding available for female-friendly changerooms, new ovals, upgrades to existing fields and lighting, and is open to community clubs, schools and local councils.
"One of the lessons from COVID is community sport - like AFL- is more important than ever for bringing Queenslanders together, staying healthy and connected with their community."
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said having good facilities was key to helping clubs attract and retain players.
"More Queenslanders are participating in AFL than ever before with 53% growth in participation since 2014.” Mr McLachlan said.
"Across Queensland, more females are playing footy than ever with female participation increasing by 48% since 2014, yet in some regional areas just over one quarter of venue facilities are female friendly and less than 45% have adequate lighting.
"We are an inclusive sport, our female pathways now run from Auskick through to the elite game and we need to continue to improve this imbalance while delivering new greenspace in areas where growth is occurring."
"It doesn’t matter if your club is in Cairns, Coorparoo or Coolangatta, we want to deliver you the best facilities possible so everyone can have the best possible experience.
"Off the back of the historic year that saw Queensland become the unofficial home of the AFL, it’s fantastic to be partnering with the Queensland Government on this initiative which will deliver benefits to many clubs over the coming years.
"We want to see as many young people as possible playing the game and as we head towards the start of the junior footy season, the AFL is giving every junior participant who signs up to play club footy in 2021 a free footy! It’s part of our ongoing commitment to leave a lasting legacy it’s our way of saying Thanks Queensland.
"On behalf of the AFL, I want to again say thank you to Premier Palaszczuk and the Queensland Government who supported our game through its most challenging year and are continuing to partner with us in providing the Queensland community the best opportunity to play and be involved in footy.”
- In 2019, more Queenslanders (277k) participated in AFL than ever before.
- 42% of participants in Queensland are now female.
- Since 2014 female participation in clubs has increased by 48%
- Despite COVID, 2020 saw record registration number for AFL SEQ Juniors.
- In 2021, the AFL’s StreetSmart Q-Schools Cup is on course to achieve a record number of team registrations beating the 602 teams registered in 2019.
- Despite the growth in female participation, only one third (36%) of change facilities are female friendly, this drops to an average of 28% in the regions.
- Only 44% of clubs in regional areas have competition standard (100LUX) lighting meaning many clubs across north Queensland have to fixture through the heat of the day and can’t train during the week.
Key Program Aims
- Maximise available carrying capacity of existing venues and the quality/functionality of field of play supporting infrastructure.
- Develop increased supply through construction of new ovals, especially in growing communities, in a variety of traditional or innovative settings.
- Provide inclusive and accessible facilities that cater for the diversity of participants, particularly female participants, that wish to participate in our game.
- Develop venues to support the elite game and the sport’s complete talent pathway, umpiring, staff, landmark heritage sites and people working and volunteering within the game.
- Enable planning and project partnerships to form with a range of government and non-government bodies to result in an improved quantity, quality and welcoming venue network for Australian football.