Calls to ease restrictions around sport in Victoria

By Brayden May

REGIONAL Sport Victoria is calling on the state government to allow all sport – contact and non-contact – for adults as soon as possible.

Under the current roadmap towards COVID-normal, contact sport for those over the age of 18 may not return until late November.

But chair of Regional Sport Victoria Felicity Williams is further calling on the government to separate areas with low case numbers to metropolitan Melbourne.

“While we appreciate the complex challenges associated with a global pandemic, there needs to be some common sense applied,” she said.

“Under the current plan, anyone above the age of 18 will not be able to participate in contact community sport, unless Melbourne has reached the final stage, which is foreshadowed to be late November.

“This means no AFL, no netball, no basketball … basically any sport that involves physical contact will be off limits for adults living in regional Victoria.

"Regional Sport Victoria have held more than 500 conversations with regional sporting clubs around the state, as a temperature check and to offer support in any way we can.

“We are hearing loud and clear that due to limited social connection, clubs are deeply concerned about the psychological welfare of their members.

“As the peak body for sport in regional Victoria, we share this concern and urge the Victorian Government to continue the separation of regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne into the final phase of the roadmap.”

And Williams believes further segregation should occur if needed.

She said areas should be assessed under the existing five regional areas of Barwon South West, Gippsland, Grampians, Hume, and Loddon Mallee regions as defined by the Victorian Government’s Regional Partnership areas.

“Given the vast geography of Victoria, ‘ring fencing’ or zoning across regional Victoria can be much more successful when compared to metropolitan Melbourne,” Williams said.

“One case in Geelong should not impact on communities in Mildura, and vice-versa. We want to see a health first approach balanced with some common sense guidelines, so that we can return to sport in a safe and time appropriate manner.

“Our network of nine Regional Sports Assemblies will continue advocating to government regarding the specific needs of our regional sporting communities so that the return to sport is safe for everyone.”

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