Some $5 billion worth of Australia's sport and recreation facilities are at risk and clubs could be forced to shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry experts.
Turf managers are appealing for their industry to be declared 'essential', fearing further government restrictions will have drastic long-lasting impacts on sport and recreation facilities throughout the country.
They believe sporting assets - from elite stadiums to council parks - risk ruin if they are unable to be tended during a prolonged coronavirus lockdown.
"It's uncertain for a lot of industries whether they are going to be deemed non-essential or not," Australian Sports Turf Managers Association chief executive Mark Unwin told AAP on Monday.
"Our position is turf management should be considered essential given the community assets, sport and recreation assets in Australia that could be at risk."
In an update to members last week, the Association asserted that "should golf and sporting facilities not be maintained to at least a basic standard over a period, it is conservatively estimated that ... up to $5 billion worth of sporting assets Australia-wide will be at significant risk within a week".
Unwin believes that all levels of sport would be affected if regular maintenance can not be carried out.
"It's hugely daunting (for the future of the facilities) and also daunting for the 16 million people that partake in some form of sport or recreation on a regular basis," he said.
"Those facilities are vital.
"Even community parks, recreation reserves, community sport - cricket, NRL, rugby, football, those sorts of things - all of which may come under risk if the turf facilities aren't kept at a basic level throughout any proposed lockdown."
Unwin said remedial turf work after the lockdown ends may not be possible or affordable for many clubs and councils.
"It would be a long way back but also extraordinarily expensive in some regards at various facilities," he said.
"There is a feeling in the industry that there are many clubs that might not survive.
"The impacts are being felt right throughout community sporting venues and elite stadiums.
"If you look at the NRL, AFL, A-League ... if they're proposed to kick-off again at the end of May or June, the remedial work to get a stadium of that level up to a playable safe standard needs to occur weeks in advance.
"You can't flick a switch on these things unfortunately because turf continues to grow."
Australian Associated Press