With the costs of living appearing to increase every day, families often have to cut activities from their budgets in order to make ends meet. This is frequently activities such as sport which can be expensive and are not seen as essential, however sport and physical activity can be vital for children’s health and social development.
Commencing on January 31, 2018, the NSW Government will allocate $207 million over four years to establish Active Kids which is a program to help NSW families meet the costs of getting their children into sport and fitness activities.
The government will provide vouchers valued at $100 to parents and guardians of children who are aged 4.5 to 18 years and enrolled at school. The vouchers, which can be used for registration and participation costs for sport and fitness activities, are part of an initiative that aims to reduce barriers to participation and help improve physical activity behaviours in NSW children.
NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said the rebate would help to ease financial pressure on families. “As a parent, I know how important it is to keep your kids physically active, but I also know how household costs can add up.”
“We want to ease the pressure on families where we can, and our hope is that parents take advantage of this rebate and enrol their children in their preferred sport,” Mr Perrottet said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics found in 2015-16 that 27.4 per cent of of children aged 5 to 17 were overweight or obese, with 74 per cent of children not getting enough physical exercise. Given the ongoing health risks and costs associated with these trends, the NSW government implemented a variety of programs to try and address the situation.
Initiatives including the Healthy School Canteens, the Make Healthy Normal campaign and Go4Fun programs, have all helped stabilise obesity rates with the government’s aim to reduce youth overweight and obesity rates by five per cent within ten years.
Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres, said the program was designed to benefit entire families. "Every dollar counts in the household budget and this is $100 back into the pockets of mums and dads so more kids can play sport.”
“We’re helping to ensure families don’t have to stretch their budgets and to ensure their kids are active and healthy,” Mr Ayres said.
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Every child aged 4.5 to 18 years who is enrolled in school from kindergarten to Year 12 will be eligible for an Active Kids Voucher. This includes those who are home-schooled or enrolled in secondary school education at TAFE NSW. Parents and guardians of children with disabilities or who live in rural or remote areas of NSW who may not otherwise meet the above criteria may discuss their registration with the Office of Sport.
The program will not be means tested, with vouchers available for redemption once only for the nominated activity. They will expire at the end of the calendar year and cannot be split between multiple clubs, sports or registrations.
For full details of the Active Kids program visit: sport.nsw.gov.au/sectordevelopment/activekids