“It defies belief that Peter Garrett says he wants 'to fund programs that work' when he’s slashing money from a proven and effective program that uses sport to get kids to school,” Ms Keneally said.
“For weeks, we’ve been calling on the Commonwealth to restore its small contribution - just $380,000 - to Basketball Australia’s No School No Play program. Last year basketball's program saw 90 per cent of participants improve school attendance and 80 per cent improve their school engagement.
“Our program alone takes in 750 students in more than 30 schools across Western Sydney, Northern New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia. 40 per cent of those students were Indigenous.
“On top of that, No School No Play was run by seven other national sporting organisations – all of which have had their funding suddenly cut by the Commonwealth.
“Yet today, the Gillard Government has decided to pour more than $4 million into a program that runs exclusively in Queensland by just one sporting code without putting forward any numbers to back it up.
"To do this at the expense of an Australia-wide program with proven results is just not a sound policy decision.
“While I welcome any investment in sport and indigenous education, it is clear the Gillard Government is yet again filtering money through to select sporting codes at the expense of all others.”
Ms Keneally said the latest sports participation data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in October 2012 was proof the Government should put further funding behind proven participation programs.
“Basketball has bucked the national trend and grown its already strong participation base among children even further – shooting up 7.9 per cent over the last three years, and 25 per cent over the last six years,” Ms Keneally said.
“Yet between 2009 and 2012, nearly all other major participation sports – including cricket, swimming, netball, tennis and Australian Rules Football – suffered a decline in participation levels.
“That’s testament to the strength and effectiveness of Basketball Australia’s grassroots children’s participation programs such as No School No Play and Aussie Hoops.
“We know that keeping children in school means giving them the best possible start in life – and No School No Play has proven that sport is a powerful motivator in keeping students in class.
“Overwhelmingly, we see children across Australia continue to engage with basketball. That’s reason enough for the Government to put funding behind our proven participation programs – so we can continue to encourage even more students to lead healthy and active lifestyles.”