Member for Page Janelle Saffin today congratulated one team and four individual recipients of the Federal Government’s new Local Sporting Champions grants program.

Ms Saffin said Grafton High School’s Rowing Club would receive $3000 towards its tilt at the  Australian National Titles being staged at Lake Barrington in Tasmania this week.

Managed by Kerrie Tarrant, team members include Briony Edgar, Oliver Couch, Fraser Hemphill, Sarah Jones, Cameron Kitcher, Nicholas Mills, Timothy Riddell, Nathan Sneesby, Adam Spies and Johanna Tarrant.

Ms Saffin congratulated individual recipients of  $500 grants – Wooloweyah swimmer Dylan Brown, Wollongbar water polo player Paul Carter, Ballina athlete with a disability Mikey Lloyd-Tighe, and South Grafton cricketer Kara Sutherland.

“Junior sportsmen and women often find it difficult to meet the costs of participating at major competitions in our capital cities, particularly when they live and train in a regional area like the Northern Rivers,” she said.

“The Local Sporting Champions program provides financial assistance for these emerging sports stars towards the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing at an official national sporting organisation (NSO) endorsed state or national competition.”

Ms Saffin also announced that an expert panel of  three high-profile sporting identities would assist her in assessing future quarterly rounds of the $1.6 million Australian Sports Commission-administered program.

The panel includes former Socceroo and SBS football commentator Craig Foster, who grew up in Lismore, Beijing Olympic Games silver medal-winning kayaker Jacqui Lawrence, formerly of  Old Bonalbo; and Southern Cross University lecturer and ABC Local Radio sports commentator Dave Arthur.

Ms Saffin urged young sportspeople in Page, including unsuccessful applicants from this first round, to make an individual or team application if they are eligible. More information is available www.ausport.gov.au/champions