‘Frustrated’: Sports boss bewildered by return to game plan
COMMUNITY sport has been forgotten in Queensland's roadmap to recovery from COVID-19, according to Barb Knowles.
The Rockhampton Hockey president is frustrated that her game and other grass-roots sport cannot return until July.
She believes that timeframe could jeopardise the chance of any serious hockey being played in Rockhampton this season, placing a huge financial impost on the association.
In a sternly worded post on the RHA Facebook page, Knowles said she found it "bewildering" that community sport's return was factored in at the final stage of the state's recovery plan.
Stage 1 (May 15) allows gatherings of up to 10 people for outdoor, non-contact activity, Stage 2 (June 12) for gatherings of up to 20 people for non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport, and Stage 3 (July 10) a maximum of 100 people for community sport.
"Dear members, we now have Qld's 3 stage 'roadmap' back from COVID19 restrictions but the most detours are on the road to Kalka Shades, with community sport (ie hockey) set for the last stage on July 10," her post read.
"I don't want this to sound like a 'Trumpy rant' but find another 2 months without any sport (of course other than 'special dispensation' for the highest rated contact sports to begin in the next few weeks)… bewildering to say the least.
"As a grass roots, non-profit, volunteer based sport, do we not contribute enough to the government's economy like professional sport with their media and sponsorship commitments?"
Knowles plans to contact local politicians, asking them to do more to help sport in the region to restart earlier.
"I recognise this has been a pandemic and that we have to come out of it slowly," she said. "But I believe that when they are easing restrictions now on things, sport - especially an outdoor sport - should be one of the first things we can really get back into.
"If we had been Stage 2, it would have been good. It would give us a month to prepare and make sure our venues are safe.
"But July 10? You can't ask players to just run around and just train a bit for two months.
"I feel that community sport's been forgotten. It's such a big part of people's lives; it's about physical activity, mental wellbeing and interaction with people that we're all missing.
"Governments have always said how important sport is for the community and yet we're the last on the list to get out and play."
Knowles said consideration should also be given to Central Queensland's COVID-19 record.
"It's also frustrating that every region is being treated the same.
"Central Queensland is virtually virus-free now. Everyone has done such an amazing job and tried so hard to reduce the spread but we are lumped in with areas that have had major outbreaks.
"I am sure we can adhere to all of the regulations and to have to wait another two months is just not fair."