Expanding the sports voucher scheme

Mr DULUK (Waite) (14:43): A supplementary to the Minister in regard to Sports Vouchers: with the extension of this Sports Vouchers Scheme to Year 8 and 9 students, did the Minister contemplate extending that to Scouts and Girl Guides participants? If not, why not?

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (14:43): I thank the member for his question and stress the point about how excited we are that we have extended this program. I do go back to the point that under the previous government it was only a $50 voucher and, in fact, they didn't have it budgeted going forward at the last election. So we put the $100 in and now we have expanded it. We have expanded it to swimming and we have expanded it to dance. We think that was really important too.

What we are focused on here is that and, as Minister for Sport, I make no apologies we are really keen to get more people more active. We know if we can get people doing 150 minutes of exercise per week, we could get every South Australian doing that and we could save the health budget over $800 million a year. So this is a really important piece. We want to make sure we get people active. We understand that Scouts do an outstanding job. Part of the prerequisite for this program is to have a 10-week physical activity program, and that's where the focus is and that's where we have kept it.

We do appreciate it and we will continue to look. We have shown a propensity to expand this program when and where it's possible. Like I said, dance and swimming were added, and that was really appreciated by families. That of course had a growth in the money again that went back into the pockets of South Australian families. This really helps with the cost of living.

And now we are going out to year 9 students as well. We are really proud of that. We think that's great. We will continue to look to expand it every term. I thank the Treasurer for his support with this because this is a great cost-of-living initiative and we know that it really, really does help. Again, it drives to our goal here to get people more active, to get them doing more physical activity because we know the health benefits that come with that.

Whilst we are talking about health benefits, we know and we saw again yesterday the great amount of money that the Treasurer and the health minister got towards mental health. This is actually at the start of the journey, if you like. We know getting people involved in sporting clubs, getting them physically active, has a big benefit towards their mental health as well, so we will keep delivering on that. We are really proud of the initiatives we have. Of course, we have put nearly $400 million into sports since coming into government, grassroots sports right the way through to elite, as I have been pointing out, and some of the community facilities that we have been doing right across South Australia.

I have great pleasure in going to the regions and talking to many of the local members out there and also the local sporting community about how important it is that we put money back into sporting facilities because what it does, it creates a hub where people can come. Of course, we saw through COVID in particular how important these sporting facilities were as community facilities as well. Yes, we know getting them physically active and playing sport is vitally important because it's good for their health and wellbeing, but it's the actual social congregation as well, of these sporting clubs, that proved to be really, really important.

When we did have lockdowns for a little while and we couldn't have sport and thankfully here in South Australia that was only a very short, brief period of time we did note that that the social impact was quite large. Our investment is really, really important. It's really important for sports, to keep sports progressing and making sure they have got those facilities so that we can keep the growth of women's sport, of course. We are very keen on that, and those family-friendly facilities again, money that the opposition never even dreamt of putting into sport, some $400 million into these facilities are sensational, and the people really appreciate it.