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Parents withdraw children from Victorian community sport over vaccination rules

Parents withdraw children from Victorian community sport over vaccination rules
November 18, 2021

Community clubs in Victoria are calling for a vaccination mandate as parents continue to withdraw their children from community sport amid rising tension over the rules for participation.

As reported today in the ABC and according to Victoria Chief Health Officer, Dr Brett Sutton's directions - vaccination requirements do not apply to community sport participants, workers and spectators.

Wangaratta and District Cricket Association president Greg Hoysted told ABC he had written to Cricket Victoria to ask them to enforce a vaccination mandate despite the health directions.

Hoysted said they were currently sorting through a "difficult" situation where one town did not want to send their under-12 cricket club to another town for a match because there were COVID cases there.

Talking to ABC Radio Melbourne, Cricket Victoria Chief Executive, Nick Cummins offered a response and said the organisation strongly encouraged vaccination, but said they were not willing to create a ‘third set of rules’, commenting "if the state government has got a set of rules, and the local LGA has got a set of rules and we create a third set, it makes it incredibly complicated for the participant to understand what they can and can't do.

"And if the cricket game is played at a place where it's mandatory, such as a university of school, that would overrule the position."

Cummins said he was also mindful of asking volunteers to enforce the mandate who may not have the training to ‘manage conflict highlighting "those volunteers not necessarily having the training (to) … potentially manage someone who's quite agitated about being told what they can and can't do - particularly if it runs in opposition to what they've been told they can do by the government."

Little Athletics Victoria Chief Executive, Anthony McIntosh told ABC Radio Melbourne the initial directions from Victoria's Chief Health Officer required anyone aged over 16 to be fully vaccinated to participate in community sport, but these directions had recently changed.

McIntosh accepts the Chief Health Officer's directions, despite some parents withdrawing their children from playing and shared "when the first lot of directions came out - we had lots of blowback; lots of feedback from angry parents in particular, saying that's not right.

"But there were equal numbers, possibly more angry responses, from parents when the rules changed back [to no vaccination required]."

ABC report an understanding that community sport is recognised as a private activity, like weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, which also do not require mandatory vaccination.

Image: Wangaratta and District Cricket Association Facebook

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