CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
A much loved footy club in Western Queensland, that has provided opportunity and personal development for thousands of at-risk rural kids over the better part of a century, looks like it’ll have to shut up shop this week.
Not because they can’t make the numbers anymore, and not because they can’t find local parents and community members to help run the place.
It’s because there aren’t enough chook raffles and meat trays on this planet to raise the money needed to remove the asbestos from their clubhouse.
Not to mention the much needed refurb on the heritage listed grandstand – after generations of teenagers smoking billies and rooting in it after dark.
For close to two decades the Getwunupya Junior RLFC, also known as the Getwunupya Goannas, had made it clear to their local councillors, state MP and Federal Member that they are going to need some help if they want to survive.
However, unfortunately for this beloved institution of bush footy, they are located squarely in National Party heartland, in a seat that hasn’t been considered marginal since the shearers were unionised.
This means that they are not applicable for any help from the aforementioned elected officials that always talk shit about helping people like them.
After spending week after week, year after year dotting the Is and crossing the Ts on the labour-intensive grant applications, club secretary Barb Gutherson says she reckons everyone of her submissions has been crushed up and Kobe’d by former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie.
“The fact that our board of die-hard and dedicated club lifers isn’t made up of anyone with enough money to get the attention of the Liberal or National Party’s donation office also doesn’t help things” says Barb.
“The most interest we’ve ever had from the government is when a certain Cabinet minister sent his pregnant mistress out here to work in the Catholic Hostel in the nineties”
Bridget McKenzie is reported to have ignored the advice of Sport Australia and funnelled money into projects in marginal electorates and those the Coalition was targeting in the lead up to the 2019 election. The Goannas weren’t one of em.
The lack of political clout wielded in this rural town of working class Australian voters now means sad news for the thousands of families that the Goannas have brought joy and purpose to over the years.
They face no option but to now shut their doors until someone thinks of a goofy idea that can bring more money into the community, like an Elvis Festival or cane toad races – or basically any other weird alternative to the once thriving industries destroyed by drought, NSW-centric policies and ice.
This is because Getwunupya is from a really shitty part of the Outback – in the sense that it isn’t located near any coal seam gas or mining projects.
Unfortunately, this means Goanna’s can’t even get some of that ‘don’t-complain-about-what-we-are-doing-to-your-water money.