Australian star Alyssa Healy has commended the 2020-21 Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund (ACIF) with the announcement that close to $18.3 million in community cricket facility projects will be generated by the fund.

The ACIF is a joint initiative between Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), through its contribution via the Grassroots Cricket Fund (GCF), that provides grants for cricket facility projects with a focus on growing participation and promoting accessibility and inclusivity.

The 2020/21 ACIF, which saw two rounds conducted in New South Wales, awarded almost $1.4 million in grants to 39 projects with a total facility development cost of approximately $18.3 million.

World Cup winner and NSW Breaker’s captain Healy, who is also an ACA Board Director, applauded the latest investment.

“Clubs like Sydney Cricket Club where I play my club cricket have helped me develop to where I am today,” Healy said.

“As a proud ACA member, I am thrilled that funding through the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund and the Grassroots Cricket Fund can help clubs and associations continue to thrive and ensure everyone has an opportunity to play this great game.”

Through Australian Cricket’s various facility grant programs dating back to 2013, including the current ACIF, CA, CNSW and the ACA have provided $6.44 million in funding to 291 projects worth almost $70 million.

Cricket NSW Chief Executive Officer Lee Germon said cricket is leading the industry with its ongoing investment towards the provision of community sporting infrastructure.

“Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia remain committed to partnering with clubs and associations, local councils, schools and State and Federal Government departments on facility developments that will foster the love of cricket and drive broader social, health and economic benefits for NSW communities,’’ Germon said.

“Cricket in NSW has a total annual community impact valued at $389.2 million – of which $385.72 million is an economic contribution into NSW communities. The ACIF aids in leveraging cricket’s impact and assist in delivering facilities that are accessible, inclusive and provide a welcoming environment for the whole community.

“Our local government partners and our volunteers play a vital role in identifying an opportunity and connecting all of the elements needed to deliver a significant infrastructure project. As a funding partner, we’re proud to work with them and bring their vision to reality.

“The 2020-21 ACIF rounds have seen successful projects from regional areas such as Byron Bay to Holbrook, Mudgee, Tamworth and Shoalhaven as well as metropolitan areas such as the Inner West, Sutherland and Greystanes.

“The projects have a strong focus on priorities outlined in the Cricket NSW Infrastructure Strategy (2020-2030) such as new or improved practice facilities, gender-neutral amenities as well as new or improved pitches and playing fields to increase accessibility, particularly for female cricket.

“We are very grateful to our partners Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association for their ongoing support of the ACIF and look forward to working together to bring more important projects to completion in the future.”

Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley praised the news.

“It’s great to see more local projects being funded through the ACIF to help grow the game in New South Wales," Hockley said.

"The range of projects across the state that have been supported through the ACIF, as well as our government and private sector partners, highlights our commitment to providing quality facilities for our community.”

The ACIF plays a crucial role in developing grassroots cricket across the state, especially for kids, and ensuring Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia are uniting and inspiring NSW communities to play and love the game, and cementing cricket as Australia’s Favourite Sport.

Applications for a new round of ACIF for 2021-22 are due to open later this year, and those interested in applying should contact and discuss their project with their local Cricket NSW representative.