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The ACT’s leadership in providing funding parity for Paralympic and Olympic athletes has entered its third Games cycle, with Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry pledging $100,000 each to Paralympics Australia’s Paris 2024 Team Appeal and the Australian Olympic team.

The ACT government will invest an additional $100,000 in direct support for eligible Territory athletes across Paralympic and Olympic sport. It follows first-time equal funding commitments recently by the Queensland and NSW state governments.

“The ACT government has always been a very proud supporter of the Olympics and Paralympics and we’re proud to announce today that we’re providing equal funding to the Olympic and Paralympic [teams],” Minister Berry said.

Paralympics Australia President Alison Creagh gratefully accepted the support.

“I want to recognise that the ACT government has been providing equal funding since 2016 and we’re really appreciative of that,” Ms Creagh said.

“Paralympic sport is a bit different to Olympic sport. We have a number of travel costs and support costs that are different from our Olympic colleagues.

“We have a large staff that need to provide various facilities, everything through recovery, nutrition, physiotherapy, sport science – everything that will gear the athletes and get them ready to give the best that they can. We want to support our athletes in every possible way so they can give their best performances. We want to make you proud at the Paris 2024 Paralympics.”

Paris 2024 Australian Paralympic Team co-captain Angie Ballard offered a small insight into the costs associated with competing in Para-athletics.

“A racing chair costs 10 to 15 grand, I have to go to Switzerland in the middle of the year, which will be at least $6000…,” Ballard said. “It’s just part of what we have to do to qualify and compete with the world.”

The five-time Paralympian from Canberra said equal funding had been “a long time coming” and it was positive that there was a national conversation.

“ACT has been very supportive of able-bodied athletes and Para-athletes and I would say the culture and community here expresses that a lot,” she said. “It’s good leadership but something we have to keep reminding people about.”

Fellow Para-athletics star Chad Perris challenged other states to follow the lead of the ACT, NSW and Queensland.

“I think it’s time for all the states to follow suit,” said Perris, who set a Games qualifying time in the 100m T13 recently.

“It’s incredibly important and means a lot to Para-athletes and Olympic athletes as well. It just makes sense. I’m really proud of the ACT for the leadership it’s shown.”

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 1 February 2024