Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally has today written to Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett urging him to step in and save the highly successful No School No Play program.
This follows on from Ms Keneally’s appearance before the House of Representatives’ Inquiry into the Contribution of Sport to Indigenous Wellbeing and Mentoring last week – where BA called on the Federal Government to keep funding the program.
“We’re calling on Minister Garrett to step in and reverse DEEWR’s decision to scrap No School No Play,” Ms Keneally said.
“It is incredibly disappointing that the Commonwealth is discontinuing NSNP funding without a thorough evaluation – particularly when such a small investment is making such a great return for students and for the taxpayer alike.
“For Just $380,000, BA has supported 750 students and more than 30 schools – posting great results. A staggering 90% of NSNP participants improved their school attendance, and 80% improved in overall school engagement.
“These two substantial figures speak volumes about the program and what it has been able to achieve in such a short term and with a relatively small amount of funding.
“But BA’s success goes beyond numbers. We received great feedback from schools and heart tremendous stories of individual students growing with confidence; students’ lifestyle choices began to change, and more of them took part in school activities.
“Furthermore, all communities involved in the program have strongly supported NSNP with great enthusiasm.
“For these communities, the decision by DEEWR to discontinue funding is not only disappointing; it is also engendering cynicism and frustration that a program which works so well is being dropped by the Commonwealth.”
Ms Keneally said BA’s success with NSNP was in part motivated by the fact that basketball is a sport that motivates the targeted students.
“Basketball’s popularity with young people was recently verified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last month: although there has been a decline in children’s participation in sport overall – as well as a number of particular codes – basketball has bucked that trend,” Ms Keneally said.
“Over the past 3 years, basketball has grown in popularity, posting an 8% increase in participation. Today, basketball is the 2nd highest participation sport in Australia.
“That in itself is further proof that the Commonwealth should put funding behind our proven participation programs – and help us continue to run No School No Play.”