The following statement was issued on Thursday 26 September by the Mayor of Benalla Rural City Council Barbara Alexander:
Council resolved last night to express its concern to the Ovens and King Football and Netball League regarding its direction to merge the Goorambat, Swanpool and Tatong Football and Netball Clubs for the 2014 season onwards. The Council will be encouraging the clubs to seek legal advice on the proposed contracts and forward it to us, and we will invite representatives from the Ovens and King Football Netball League and the AFL North East Border to meet with us to discuss the impact that the current proposal will have on the communities involved.
We all know that football, netball and other sporting clubs provide an important opportunity, especially for young people, to participate in physical activity. This is vital for a healthy community. They also provide a structured and safe environment where young people can mix with their peers and people of other age groups.
We don’t want to see any young person who puts their hand up to play sport to be told, “There’s no room for you.” We also don’t want to see the opportunity for participation of children with disabilities reduced.
Communities like Swanpool, Tatong and Goorambat gather and bond around the netball court and the football field. The activities of the clubs foster connectedness within the community, and support local businesses.
It would be a great shame if the community’s access to sport were reduced, denying them these important benefits for health, social cohesion and the local economy.
Through its discussion and resolution last night, the Council hopes to encourage the committed people who are fighting to continue to participate in football and netball. We hope that a sustainable solution can be found that does not leave any smaller community or their young people disadvantaged.
Image right: The public gallery was packed at the 25 September meeting.