New hope for parents ahead of junior league finals
Sports loving mums and dads have been given new hope that there will be a much welcomed change to the controversial one parent spectator policy in time for this weekend's junior sporting finals.
That was the message from NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Monday night, which comes after talks between influential NSW Minister Stuart Ayres and ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys continued earlier on Monday.
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It follows an online petition that was set up by Sydney mum Amy Smith who questioned the double standards that are set to allow 50 per cent capacity at upcoming NRL finals games.
As of Monday night Mrs Smith's petition had climbed to more than 7,800 signatures.
But Mr Hazzard told 2GB over the past 10 days the government had been working "towards making some changes to community sport".
"We'll certainly, in my view, be easing up that restriction in terms of parents," Mr Hazzard told 2GB's Jim Wilson.
"I think it's pretty safe to say that by the weekend, subject to one final check on Wednesday … I'd say mums and dads could look forward to … being able to get out and see their youngsters play in their finals and grand finals."
Mrs Smith said the change would be huge for communities across the state.
"Just for the sake of the kids and not having to choose which parents can go, I really hope the change happens," Mrs Smith, who has three boys playing for the Harbord Devils, said.
"I mean, I heard the Premier say it, she was on Manly Beach (on Monday) talking about how being outdoors is safe and being outdoors is good for your health.
"I think that is really important for us to just be able to get down the footy and watch our kids play.
"We are not going to stand in a huddle. We are certainly not going to stand with the opposition.
"It is just important for everybody.
"It is the backbone of our community."
Mr Ayres had said previously it would come down to weighing up risks versus restrictions.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian spoke with caution on Monday: "We always want to ease the burden on our citizens but we need to do it in a safe way.
"I also appreciate the challenges of consistency.
"People say, 'well, you are doing this, why aren't you doing that?'
"But we have to accept that the risk among various settings is higher than others.
"Ironically a ticketed seated event is far more safe than an unticketed unseated event."
But Mrs Smith added: "Look, I really hope the change happens, that's all I can say.
"I will be really stoked if it does because this means a lot to so many people.
"We have volunteers and people who have slugged it out all season.
"You have to look after the little guys."
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Originally published as New hope for parents ahead of junior league finals