Full season hire a slam dunk for Sports Centre, families

15 April 2014

AlburyCity’s Community and Cultural Committee has endorsed plans to introduce a seasonal court hire at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, with the potential to reduce overall costs to players and families.

The new system will see court hire charged to the Albury Basketball Association and Albury Netball Association on a seasonal basis, moving away from the current week-by-week payment process. The change means that each association will have bulk purchased its court hire in advance, and in the case of parents of a junior basketballer they will be up to $34.90 better off each season.

Starting in July the costs will be administered by each individual sporting association which will introduce a single upfront payment to parents at the start of each season. The single payment will see the average cost of a game reduce from $7.10 to as little as $5.26, dependant on the amount of games played.

The switch to a seasonal charge means that Council has again ruled out the possibility of introducing a spectator fee, an idea which was first floated in 2008. The associations for junior netball and basketball will be encouraged to extend their seasons, bringing them in line with the other sports played at the facility.

“Council sees this as a suitable alternative to a spectator fee,” Chair of the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre Advisory committee Cr Ross Jackson said. “Week-by-week payments are no longer standard practice at major sporting centres or junior sporting competitions and the process is labour intensive.”

“It was a system that also meant the centre and sporting associations were financially vulnerable to forfeits and cancellations. This way we all have some certainty over income and will be able to provide better competitions overall.”

“This new system will streamline the payment process and reduce our operating costs without having to charge families anything extra. Parents also have the added benefit that if their child plays in a higher grade or fills in for another team, then that game will be at no cost.”

The proposal was endorsed by the Committee at its April meeting and will be presented to Council at its 28 April meeting. The change was identified as part of Council’s Service and Efficiency Review, a wide-ranging examination of Council’s facilities and services to identify operational efficiencies.

“We expect to save approximately $11,000 per year under this new system without charging parents or players anything extra. It’s a great outcome that makes financial sense,” Cr Jackson added.

Parents with multiple players who may have difficulty paying upfront costs will work with their relevant sporting associations who are investigating flexible payment options.