HOW MANY PEOPLE PLAY SPORT?
The latest edition of Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, April 2007 (cat. no. 6285.0) was released on the 19th December 2007 and is available to download free of charge. The survey found that 3.8 million people were involved as a player in some form of organised sport. This represents almost a quarter (23.4%) of the population aged 15 years and over.
The survey also sought information about non-playing roles - coaches, referees and umpires, other officials, committee members within sporting clubs and medical support roles. Over 1.6 million people or 9.9% of the population was involved in one or more of these roles and with there being 659,000 coaches, instructors or teachers, 381,000 referees or umpires, 683,000 committee members or administrators, 616,000 scorers or timekeepers and 266,000 involved in a medical support or other role.
Many of those involved in non-playing roles are involved in junior sport. This was 72% of coaches, instructors and teachers and 56% of all those involved in all non-playing roles.
The survey also asked about whether the involvement was paid or unpaid. The latter can be used as a measure of the volunteer contribution to organised sport. Those who received no payment for their involvement numbered 1.3 million or 84% of those with a non-playing role. In addition, for those who received some payment, the majority, in all roles, received payment of less than $5,000 or payment only in goods and services in the previous twelve months.
Caution however needs to be exercised in using these data as a measure of the volunteer rate, as the survey asked about 'involvement' in organised sport rather than more generally about 'volunteering' for sport. The 2006 General Social Survey included a supplement on volunteering and this is an alternative source of data on voluntary work. This survey indicated that 1.7 million people, or 11.2% of the adult population volunteered in 2006 for a sport and recreation organisation. Results from this survey are summarised in Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4441.0).