Tony Abbott can make a big sport statement when he gets sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia early next week.
He will have an agenda longer than a piece of string. But at or near the top of the list should be sports funding.
Not just big stadiums and facilities for professional sporting organisations.
But junior and community sporting organisations, such as improvements to playing fields, clubhouses, fencing, better lighting — the list is endless.
I reckon federal, state and local governments do a pretty fair job providing grants to sporting clubs across the nation.
But Mr Abbott is a sports fanatic. We have all seen the footage on television or photos in newspapers of him in his swimmers at the beach or going on long bike rides or in fun as well as long distance runs.
The new man in charge should take the ball and run with it.
I don’t want to be accused of telling the new PM how to go about his job, but here is the chance to strike while the iron is hot and launch his status as the ‘‘Sporting Prime Minister.’’
Together with whoever is appointed the new Federal Sports Minister, Mr Abbott should map out a blueprint for funding of the highest order for sport.
The funding just doesn’t have to be for professional sportspeople but at a grassroots level.
Without kids involved in sport and sporting clubs there ain’t no stars of tomorrow.
With a growing population and the emphasis on health and nutrition there will be more kids in schools and more kids playing sport.
Official figures of health and medical professionals suggest obesity and poor fitness levels have risen in recent years.
Mr Abbott, who prides himself on health and fitness, will want to lead by example.
While the treasury tins at Canberra aren’t bottomless it’s crucial proper funding and programs are established, for now and in the future.
The more kids play sport in their local communities the better not just for them but for our society.
The devil makes work for idle hands and kids with no sense of belonging and nothing to do become a problem for the police, the courts and the judicial system.
We need to build less jails and build more sporting facilities.
Sydney’s southwest and western sydney are an untapped mine of sporting talent.
There are many sporting fields around but we can never have enough.
A sports summit set up by Mr Abbott involving state and local governments and sporting administrators is one thing that should happen in his first 100 days in office. That’s what I think; what do you think?