Kingborough Council is implementing new sports ground user fees incrementally over 5 years, starting on 1 July 2023 at $5 an hour and reviewed annually.
Kingborough Mayor, Paula Wriedt said the level of disparity between fees for indoor sports as opposed to outdoor sports was unfair.
“At present someone who plays an indoor sport, for example at the Kingborough Sports Centre, pays a small amount in their registration fees towards the hire of the venue, yet someone who plays outdoors doesn’t,” Cr Wriedt said.
“This is not an equitable situation.
“Community expectations about the quality of facilities such as outdoor playing surfaces has increased substantially over the years and Council has been absorbing the increasing costs of maintaining these facilities.
“For example, $1.4M per year is spent on maintaining ovals and sports grounds across Kingborough.
“With rising costs, we need to adopt a similar approach to many other Councils and recoup some expenses.
“We are not aiming for full cost recovery as the fees only represent a small proportion of the cost to the rate payer.
“The charges are also significantly lower than other Councils.
“In contrast Hobart City, Clarence and Glenorchy Councils all charge between $35 to $87 an hour for their sporting grounds.
“Council wants to make sure that it treats all sports fairly and considers the application of a very small level of cost recovery from clubs that use its sportsgrounds to be appropriate.
“Fees have been kept low with a twelve month lead in time to avoid undue difficulty for sporting clubs.
“Any introduction of extra costs is going to be unpopular, we understand this, but we are trying to balance user fees with general rate payer contributions.
“I understand that the engagement between Council and Sporting Clubs has not been to some club’s satisfaction, and we apologise for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
“Council staff are currently communicating with all sporting clubs to make sure that their concerns are heard, and we welcome any contact from them.”
Through the State Government’s initiative, Ticket to Play, up to $100 can be provided to anyone on a Health Care or Concession Card to be used for club membership fees for children aged 5 – 18 https://tickettoplay.tas.gov.au