Scouts affected by KidSport funding cut

The Collie Scout Club could see a drop in numbers with the state government making cuts to the KidSport funding program.
The Collie Scout Club could see a drop in numbers with the state government making cuts to the KidSport funding program.

The Department of Sport and Recreation WA has made cuts to KidSport funding for Scouts, a move set to affect hundreds of members.

The funding per child per year decreased from $200 to $150 on January 1, 2018.

However, a change to the scheme’s definition of ‘sport’ on July 1 will make members of Scouts, Girl Guides and cadets ineligible for the funding.

Collie Scout Group leader Rob Stone said the removal of funding would have a great effect on the group, with around a third of the 60 members relying on the funding. 

“They come from families in this area that have a limited income and the benefit of KidSport for those people was that it enabled them to become part of the group,” he said.

“We expect that if we don’t come up with a way to help these people, we’re going to lose a lot of Scouts.”

Sport and Recreation minister Mick Murray said the state’s Scouts movement was ‘professionally and profitably managed’, with an annual profit of more than the total annual KidSport subsidy provided to members.

“I acknowledge and appreciate the valuable work that Scouts do in the community,” he said.

“Scouts will be able – as has been the case to date – to access other sources of government funding via the Department of Communities’ “Youth” budget for the provision of services and programs and through Lotterywest grants.”

Mr Stone said he was disappointed that Scout groups would be removed from the funding, due to sport not being their primary activity. 

“Our kids hike as part of their learning... they do abseiling [and] rock climbing,” he said.

“If we had been those clubs we would still be a part of KidSport but because we call ourselves the Collie Scout Group, as part of Scouts WA, we don’t qualify. It’s a bit discerning.”

Mr Stone said he hopes to meet with parents when the Collie Scout Group holds a clean-up and barbecue day at its Scout Hall on January 20.

“We want as many of our families to come to that so we can start discussions to try and come up with some way that we can support these families that won’t be supported by KidSport.”