Residents in Barker will benefit from a new initiative aimed at ensuring all Australians can participate in sport and physical activity.

Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP welcomed the allocation of $106,020 in funding for the Murray Mallee General Practice Network (MMGPN) as one of 57 successful recipients in Australia selected as part of the Federal Government program, Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity.

MMGPN will receive the funding for their Pony Partnership- Participate in Life project. The program provides opportunities for children, youth, women and families as well as those with physical and mental health challenges, to meet as a group and become involved and learn about wellbeing using ponies in a fun environment. The four week program aims to lead participants to continue a commitment to exercise by providing links to other community active groups.

The $19 million Federal Government initiative is designed to strengthen communities through participation.

“The Murray Mallee General Practice Network was identified as serving an important role in bridging the divide and encouraging social inclusion,” Mr Pasin said.

“This organisation, and others like it, continue to play a vital role as we strive toward being more inclusive.”

The grants are the outcome of an open competitive process run by the Federal Government last year. It attracted more than 850 applications.

It is part of the Government’s $71 million investment in social cohesion initiatives to build stronger communities.

“It is important for all Australians to have opportunities to lead an active and healthy lifestyle,” Mr Pasin said.

“Supporting organisations to promote sport and physical activity as a powerful tool for inclusion is a key part of addressing this problem.

“Australians want to get moving again. We want sport and recreation – with all the health, economic, social and cultural benefits – back in our communities.”

As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and community-based group sport and physical activity resumes, grant recipients have been given an extended timeframe to December 2022 to deliver funded activities.