The NSW government has pledged to pump $100 million into new sports facilities across the state.
Deputy premier John Barilaro made the announcement on Monday flanked by former Raiders captain Alan Tongue, Australian wicket-keeper Peter Nevill, and cricketer Alex Blackwell at Queanbeyan West Public School.
Proposals with a minimum project value of $1 million will be considered and Mr Barilaro suggested Queanbeyan projects could be awarded funds.
"Here in Queanbeyan the council have a concept for, out at Jerrabomberra, a regional sports centre, comprising of a number of different sports, hockey, football and more in relation to grassroots sporting,” he said.
"Right across regional NSW everywhere I go people are talking sport, there's no question sports is the fabric of our communities."
Canberra Raiders great Alan Tongue said the significant investment by the state government would ensure talented country kids didn’t slip through the cracks.
“It’s a wonderful announcement, hearing what it’s going to do to young people’s lives is really important to me,” he said.
Sport connected people and provided a platform to create a sense of belonging by sharing in the highs and lows together. “I always talk about the great things sport taught me and one of those is being unselfish, I think it’s one of the great characteristics that you can have in any walk of life,” he said.
“So to provide more opportunities for young kids is great.”
State and non-profit sporting organisations, schools, universities, TAFE and private enterprise are all eligible to apply.
The funding falls under the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund announced in the 2017-18 NSW State Budget which was announced as new money on top of the 30 per cent guaranteed under the poles and wires transactions.
The fund aims to increase the number of world-class and high-performance venues capable of attracting and hosting major sporting events.
Along with reducing barriers to participation, investing in sports facilities aims to boost economic growth and promote tourism in the NSW regions.