Despite Field and Game Australia shooting ranges across Victoria producing sportsmen that compete in national recreational events, the Victorian Government has failed to recognise these clubs as belonging to a ‘sporting’ body to qualify for funds that equip sports associations with defibrillators.
However, there may be a change in criteria for funding and an opportunity for Field and Game clubs to provide these life-saving devices for their members’ use, after Shooters Fishers and Farmers Member for Northern Victorian Daniel Young challenged the State Government to explain why they were excluded in the first place.
“Field and Game Australia has long provided clubs for people to participate in the shooting discipline of Australian Simulated Field, which culminates with an annual national carnival and hundreds of competitors,” Mr Young said. “Whilst the competitions help improve marksmanship for hunters, shooters also look forward to the challenge of competing against their personal best scores and each other, resulting in awards.
“A shooter’s motivation to take part in a recreational activity and compete would be no different to the motivation of sailors who take part in yachting regattas. However, it appears the state classifies yachting as a ‘sport’ and shooting as a ‘recreational activity’. ”
Currently, only organisations that fall under State Sporting Associations qualify for grants under the state’s Defibrillator for Sporting Club and Facilities Program, whilst those under State Sport and Recreation Bodies – of which Field and Game clubs fall – do not.
The defibrillator program aims to provide 1000 of the devices to sporting clubs across Victoria. Bowls, racquetball and yacht clubs are among the types of organisations that have benefitted in the past year.
Mr Young has long advocated for the Victorian Government to allow Field and Game clubs to apply for grants through the defibrillator program. In reply to a constituent’s question on this matter, the state Minister for Sport today has advised Mr Young the eligibility criteria for the grants is being reviewed.
“My understanding is a review of the criteria could provide for State Sport and Recreation Bodies to be considered,” Mr Young said.
“The review is welcome, but the reason for an exclusion of ‘recreational’ clubs seems unbalanced. More uniform criteria will ensure members at shooting clubs – many of whom are quite active but in their later years – will be provided the same opportunities for life-saving devices as those taking part in their preferred ‘recreational’ activities.”