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Employment in sport and physical recreation occupations
Of those Indigenous Australians employed in sport and physical recreation occupations in 2001, greenkeepers are prominent (table 12.32). Indigenous Australians made up 1.3% (1,093) of all persons employed in sport and physical recreation occupations. Almost 10% of all park rangers were of Indigenous Australian origin.
Involvement in organised sports and physical activities
In the 12 months to April 2001, an estimated 4.1 million persons (27.1% of all people aged 15 years and over) were involved in sport and physical activity organised by a club, association or other organisation. This involvement includes players or participants and those involved in non-playing roles that support, arrange and/or run organised sport and physical activity. Of these, over 1.4 million persons (9.5% of all people aged 15 years and over) were involved as coaches, referees, administrators, scorers or in other non-playing roles.
Of the 4.1 million persons involved in organised sport and physical activity, 0.9 million (21.6% of those involved) were both a player and involved in at least one non-playing role. Of the 1.4 million persons with non-playing involvement, 33.8% participated in more than one non-playing role. In all, these 1.4 million persons had 2.1 million involvements in non-playing roles in the 12 months prior to interview (table 12.33).
The Voluntary Work Survey, conducted by the ABS in 2000, collected information on the types of organisations, clubs and associations to which people provided unpaid help in the form of time, services or skills. The survey found that 4.3 million Australians aged 18 years and over undertook voluntary work in the 12 months before interview in 2000. Sport and physical recreation organisations had the largest number of volunteers, receiving help from 1.1 million volunteers. Education, training and youth development organisations and community and welfare organisations also received help from close to one million volunteers. Although female volunteers outnumbered male volunteers overall, this situation was reversed in sport and physical recreation organisations where 60% of volunteers were male. Almost one-third (31%) of volunteers who worked for sports and physical recreation organisations were aged 35-44 years and 40% of sports volunteers had children aged 5-14 years. Some volunteers provided assistance to more than one sports organisation, so the total number of voluntary involvements in sports organisations (1.3 million) exceeded the total number of volunteers for sports organisations.
Participation in sports and physical activities
Table 12.34 shows the results of an ABS survey on the sports and physical activities in which Australians participated during a 12-month period prior to interview in 2002. This includes participation in sports or physical activities, such as football or netball, that are usually organised by a club or association. It also includes other sport and physical activities undertaken for recreation or exercise, which may not be organised, such as walking for exercise. Thus, for example, participation in swimming will include people who swim recreationally at the beach, those who swim competitively as part of a team, and those who do laps at the local pool for exercise.
The survey found that 62.4% of the population (9,056,300 people) aged 18 years and over participated as a player (rather than in a support role) in one or more sports or physical activities. Participation rates were highest for the 18-24 year age group (72.6%), and declined steadily with age. The rate for persons aged 65 years and over was 45.6%.
Males had a higher participation rate than females in most age groups; however, females had a higher participation rate than males in the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups.
Popular sports and physical activities
The 2002 survey indicated that the activities which attracted the most participants were walking (about 3.7 million people), swimming (1.6 million), aerobics/fitness (1.6 million) and tennis (1.0 million).
For men, the most popular activities were walking and golf. For women, walking and aerobics/fitness were most popular. Table 12.35 shows the 10 sports or physical activities in which the most men participated and the 10 in which the most women participated.
State and territory differences
Differences in levels of participation in sport and physical activities in different parts of the country are in part affected by the age profiles of those populations, but other factors such as climate and life-style preferences of individuals may also be important, as well as the existence of facilities, including cycle and walking paths. These differences can be observed between the states and territories. In 2002, adults in the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest participation rate (76.1% of persons aged 18 and over). South Australia, on the other hand, recorded the lowest participation rate (57.7%) (table 12.36).
The physical benefits which can accrue from lifelong participation in sport are numerous and well documented. However, traditional sporting and competition structures often do not satisfactorily accommodate those who wish to continue participation after reaching their 'prime'. Masters sport seeks to overcome this by providing opportunities for participants to compete in age groups against their peers, and in a setting where enjoyment and participation are paramount, while still catering to those who wish to compete seriously. Masters sport also provides an opportunity for mature aged athletes to take up new sports and activities.
A number of multi-sport festivals for mature-aged competitors, known as Masters Games, are conducted in various locations around Australia and the world. The biennial Australian Masters Games is an event established by Sport Industry Australia, Australia's peak industry body for sport. The games are now the largest regular multi-sport festival in Australia. The 8th Australian Masters Games were held in Newcastle in 2001 and attracted 11,225 participants, competing in 61 sports.
Sporting facilities in Indigenous communities
The 2001 Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Survey found that a total of 80,841 people (85%) living in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with a population of 50 or more had access to at least one type of sporting facility in their community. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of discrete Indigenous communities of this size had such facilities. The types of sporting facilities most commonly reported were outdoor courts for games such as basketball, netball and tennis (83% of those with at least one sporting facility) and sports grounds (78%).
Exercise and Australians
The ABS National Health Survey, conducted in 2001, found that 70% of adults had exercised for recreation, sport or fitness during the previous two weeks. Overall proportions of males and females who exercised were similar, but females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (58% and 50% respectively) while males were more likely to undertake moderate (40%) and vigorous (20%) exercise than females (33% and 11% respectively). In the two weeks prior to interview, 71% of Indigenous Australian adults in non-remote areas were found to have exercise levels that were either sedentary or low. After adjusting for age differences, this is a similar percentage to that of non-Indigenous Australian adults (68%).
Attendance at sporting events
Attending sports events (such as club matches and international competitions) is a popular pastime of many Australians. The 2002 ABS Sports Attendance Survey indicated that 7 million people, or 48% of all people aged 18 years and over, attended a sporting event (excluding junior and school sport) at least once in the previous 12 months. The overall attendance rate was virtually unchanged from the rates recorded in similar surveys conducted in 1995 and 1999. Men (56%) were more likely to have attended a sporting event than women (41%). For both men and women, attendance rates were highest for the 18-24 year age group (70% and 59% respectively) and steadily declined with age. Among men aged 65 years and over, the attendance rate was 27%, while for women in this age group it was 16%.
The sport with the highest attendance was Australian Rules football - 2.5 million people attended this sport on at least one occasion during the year (table 12.37). Horse racing (1.9 million), motor sports (1.5 million) and Rugby League (1.5 million) were also among the most attended sports.
Household expenditure on sports and physical recreation
The 1998-99 Household Expenditure Survey found that Australian households spent an average of $11.03 per week on selected sports and physical recreation products. This was 1.6% of the average weekly expenditure on all products and 1.3% of the average weekly household income. The categories of sports and physical recreation products with the highest levels of expenditure were sports facility hire charges ($2.07 per week), swimming pools ($1.29 per week) and boats, their parts and accessories ($1.21 per week).
In total, Australian households spent $4,096.4m on selected sports and physical recreation products during 1998-99. Of this, $1,968.3m was spent on sports and physical recreation services, $1,630.4m on sports, physical recreation and camping equipment, and $493.9m on sports and recreation vehicles.
After adjusting for price changes, the average total weekly household expenditure on sports and physical recreation was virtually unchanged between 1993-94 and 1998-99. However, this was the result of upward movements in some expenditure categories balancing the downward movements in others. Categories for which average weekly household expenditure increased substantially were boats, their parts and accessories (a 146.9% increase) and sports lessons (74.0%). Categories which recorded falls in average weekly household expenditure were sporting club subscriptions (a 35.1% decrease), sports and physical recreation equipment (21.4%) and sports facility hire charges (15.2%).