- McGowan Government and AFL partner for new $5 million Kimberley football plan
- $1 million per year to build the positive impact of Kimberley football
- Five-year project aims to upgrade facilities, boost participation and strengthen pathways
- Plan will reduce cost and distance barriers associated with Kimberley football
The McGowan Government is teaming up with the AFL to deliver a $5 million boost to one of football's most skilled, passionate, and remote talent pools - the Kimberley.
The funding program is designed to create a legacy to follow Western Australia's historic first AFL Grand Final.
Delivering $1 million per annum over five years, the program will support a wide range of measures from facility upgrades to community participation initiatives.
The Kimberley has a population of around 35,000 with 81 football teams, 17 Auskick centres and nearly 2,600 registered players across an area twice the size of Victoria.
There are several players hailing from the Kimberley in the AFL and AFLW system - including Liam Henry, Callum Ah Chee, Bailey Banfield and Krstel Petrevski - making it a well-represented region in terms of AFL players per capita.
Despite the region's incredible success to date, further investment is required to help football in the Kimberley reach its full potential and allow players to overcome the tyranny of distance.
The McGowan Government and AFL will jointly fund the annual $1 million investment, each contributing an equal 50:50 share towards the program.
The initiative will fund four key development areas:
- $400,000 on facility upgrades such as lighting, ground improvements, and female change rooms and amenities;
- $350,000 on community participation, investing in the region's three leagues and creating new local jobs to support football development;
- $150,000 to bolster football pathways, supporting regionally-based coaches to oversee pathway programs and access to specialist expertise; and
- $100,000 on travel subsidies, removing barriers to regular competition, particularly for remote communities participating in the Kimberley football leagues.
The pathway program funding will complement the existing Kimberley Spirit (indigenous male program) and the Claremont Football Club pathways.
This $5 million funding program follows recent State Government investments in Kimberley football, including $339,000 for floodlighting at Nipper Roe Sports Field in Broome and $592,000 to upgrade change rooms and lighting at Clarrie Cassidy Oval in Wyndham.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"The Kimberley is a source of incredible football talent, punching well above its weight in producing champions of the game.
"Players in the Kimberley often face significant barriers like distance, travel costs and a lack of facilities. This plan is about reducing those hurdles and ensuring the support is in place to grow the game in our north.
"Despite the challenges, the Kimberley football system has produced some exciting elite players, while delivering community and health benefits to people of all ages."
Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti:
"The funding for Kimberley football will ensure our incredible AFL Grand Final is not a flash in the pan for Western Australia, and its legacy will continue through grassroots development.
"Strong football clubs in regional areas like the Kimberley translates to stronger communities and better social outcomes.
"We want this program to help anyone, of any age and gender, to get involved whether they're playing for Halls Creek Hawks, Wangkatjungka Crows or the Bidyadanga Emus.
"There is no greater passion for footy than in the Kimberley, and we look forward to seeing the region continue to develop as a regional football capital."
Comments attributed to Kimberley MLA Divina D'Anna:
"This funding will go a long way to supporting Kimberley football, not only for those aiming to reach the professional levels but importantly for our community level clubs and players.
"Grassroots footy delivers so many important health and community benefits in our towns, and I look forward to working with our local clubs to help deliver these terrific programs."
Minister's office: 6552 6400