Children across the state have been guaranteed a passport to better health and fitness, with the Newman Government revealing plans to bring Nature Play to Queensland.
Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, Steve Dickson said the initiative to increase the amount of time spent in unstructured play outdoors provided children with personalised ‘passports’ full of nature-based ‘missions’.
“This delivers on our election promise to revitalise frontline services and increase Queensland children’s involvement in recreation and sport,” Mr Dickson said.
“We want Queensland children to shift from screen time to green time and to make playing outdoors and exploring our national parks and forests a bigger part of their lives.
“That’s why I’m proud to announce $1.5 million over the next three years to help get Nature Play Qld off the ground in our state.
“It will include missions such as nature scavenger hunts, climbing a hill or making a bushwalking stick, providing plenty of fun and excitement at the same time as getting kids outside.”
Mr Dickson said unstructured play outdoors was fundamental to a full and healthy childhood and would help build the foundations for lifelong health and fitness as well as a sense of environmental responsibility.
“Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in Queensland and this is a fun and practical solution that gets the whole community involved,” he said.
“It’s a problem with some simple solutions that were ignored by the previous Labor Government.
“By getting involved, children will experience benefits in health, cognitive, social and emotional development and boost confidence through physical activities.”
Executive Officer of Queensland’s peak outdoors group QORF Murray Stewart said Nature Play was an exciting initiative with capacity for significant community and cultural change.
“Nature Play Queensland is about creating a balance between screen time and green time with short term goals and long term consequences,” Mr Stewart said.
“QORF’s mandate is to develop the opportunity for outdoor recreation in Queensland and Nature Play will see Queensland kids given the encouragement and the resources to discover nature, and themselves, he said.”
Mr Dickson said the initiative had been successfully run in Western Australia since 2012 and would soon be rolled out in South Australia.
“The Newman Government is proud that Queensland is paving the way for the east coast states’ involvement,” he said
“The Newman Government is committed to getting more young Queenslanders involved in recreation and sport and we are delivering with programs such as this.”
For more information on Nature Play visit www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/