Tens of thousands of young people wanting to play sport in NSW are missing out because of a lack of funding and facilities, according to community sport groups.
A Sport NSW report, Playing Catch Up, has set the group's agenda ahead of next year's state election, calling on both sides of politics to commit to an additional $8 million in funding for community sport.
"Just $1 per person in NSW, an extra $8 million a year, would make a major difference to funding sport," Sport NSW chairman Chris Hall said after launching the report on Monday.
Core funding for state sporting organisations hasn't changed since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, resulting in a funding reduction in real terms of 67.1 per cent, according to the report.
Organisations representing different sports in NSW receive between $5000 and $60,000 a year, based on participation numbers.
NSW has fallen badly behind what other states are investing, with basketball for example receiving $55,000 a year compared to more than $400,000 in Queensland.
Chief executive of Basketball NSW, Maria Nordstrom, says there is an estimated shortfall of 136 courts in Sydney alone.
"We can see the correlation between participation and available space.
"We know that about 10,000 kids miss out playing our sport alone in NSW every year," Ms Nordstrom said.
Sports Minister Alister Henskens said the government has committed more than $1 billion for community sport infrastructure since 2017.
He pointed to initiatives such as "Active Kids" vouchers' which provided two $100 vouchers for parents to help cover the cost of sport and recreation.
"There's never been more funding delivered to grassroots sporting organisations," Mr Henskens said.
Sam Fricker, who represented Australia in diving at the Tokyo Olympics, said people who wanted to try diving were being turned away, with facilities at Sydney's Olympic Park unable to cope with demand.
"There's so many people that really want to come and dive, but we just don't have an opportunity to get them in the pool," Mr Fricker said.
"Sydney Olympic Park has everything we need, it's just always packed."
Over the weekend, the government announced a $100 billion funding boost for sporting facility development and upgrades, with 39 projects receiving between $1 million and $5 million.
Funded projects include a major indoor sporting facility at Lane Cove on Sydney's north shore, upgrades to Lauren Jackson Sports Centre in Albury on the southern border and a regional sporting facility at Olds Park in Penshurst, in Sydney's south.
Mr Hall said the additional funding through grants was welcome, but the bulk was for facility upgrades, leaving gaps in the cost of running sports which had to come out of sometimes "measly base funding".
Labor's sports spokeswoman Julia Finn accused the government of having no over-arching statewide strategy or plan for the development of grassroots sport in NSW.
"We want young kids enjoying sport as much as possible in an accessible and affordable way - not sitting on devices because there's no ground for them to play on," she said.
Australian Associated Press
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