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National Cabinet sets out measures for resumption of sport and recreation activities across Australia

National Cabinet sets out measures for resumption of sport and recreation activities across Australia
May 1, 2020

Following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 15 principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities.

The National Cabinet endorsed measures for the resumption of sport and recreation activities across Australia with a set of National Principles together with a framework for rebooting sport drafted by Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), mapping out how all Australians, not just the elite players, will return to the field.

The AIS’s Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment, will be used to guide the staged return of activity as efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 continues. The Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment was developed by the AIS after extensive consultation with sports organisations.

With further details to be provided next week, the framework guides the staged resumption of sport and recreation at high performance, community, and individual levels. 

Commenting on the measures, Prime Minister Morrison said that the return of amateur and professional sport wouldn't be "completely synchronised", but advised "you wouldn't have one (sport) necessarily hold up the other", noting that "it's important that people should be able to see the sport, but they should be able to play it as well."

Providing a Coronavirus update that, as of next Friday, will include a resumption of children's and recreational sport, Federal Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, said the announcement signalled an important step as Australia, slowly and resolutely, emerges from the pandemic.

Senator Colbeck noted “the National Cabinet decisions map out a careful and sensible road ahead for the safe resumption of sports and recreation in Australia.”

The 15 principles set out that sport will return in a staged fashion, initially with groups of 10 people, outdoors, participating in non-contact activities.

They also note children's sport is likely to resume before adult sport does, and elite sport will have to be played behind closed doors "for the foreseeable future".

Minister Colbeck added “both the National Principles and the Framework recognise the key role sport and recreation plays in the Australian community and the many health, economic, social and cultural benefits it provides.”

He said emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic would not be easy or fast – but planning for the future of sport and recreation would be a critical part of our national recovery.

“I fully support the National Cabinet’s firm resolution that the resumption of sport and recreation activity – at any level – must not compromise the health of individuals or the community.”

The National Principles make clear how sporting and recreational activities can only happen where stringent, public and personal health measures are observed and required standards met.

The National Cabinet also agreed to establish a specialist COVID-19 Sports and Health Committee.

The committee will include relevant sports medicine and health experts from the AIS, sports, and governments to monitor and support the resumption process.

It will report to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

Minister Colbeck also advised “I want to stress that the resumption process will at all times be subject to the current circumstances of jurisdictions and under the direction of relevant public health authorities.

“We can expect some variation because of local factors including COVID-19 epidemiology, risk mitigation strategies, and public health capacities.

Minister Colbeck stressed that “we must all continue to play our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe from spread of COVID-19.”

Full competition, even for sports such as Rugby League and Australian Rules, is typically only allowed under 'level C' restrictions.

However, the framework is being applied with discretion by Governments and organisations. As such, the NRL, have applied for exemptions.

Australia is generally at restrictions associated with 'level A'.

A number of other decisions were also made today by National Cabinet that are relevant to the restart, including:

• Agreement that the resumption of sport and recreation activity at any level must not compromise the health of individuals or the community; must be based on objective health information to ensure potential transmission rates are conducive to the safe conduct of sport and recreation; and should only occur where activity-specific, stringent, public and personal health measures are observed, and meeting minimum standards.
• Endorsement of the ‘National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities’ developed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, in consultation with National Sporting Organisations.
• Agreement that the ‘Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment’ developed by the Australian Institute of Sport provides a guide to the staged resumption of sport and recreation in Australia. 

Click here to view the AIS’s Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment document.

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