Australia is recognised internationally as a nation very much involved in sport. Sport and recreation form an integral part of Australian culture and there are believed to be many benefits associated with participating in sport and physical activity, including enjoyment, social interaction, health, personal achievement, national pride and community involvement.
In many ways sport unites and personifies the nation. Interestingly, we competed internationally as 'Australia' in sport before we federated as a nation. Sport and recreation can be a whole-of-life activity, and is an important part of a well-balanced lifestyle.
Governments invest in sport and recreation because it returns both tangible and intangible benefits to the nation. Federal, State, Territory and local governments all play an important role in the development of Australian sport and recreation. The provision of quality facilities, whether they be state of the art stadiums or community cycling paths, encourage physical activity and, importantly, good health.
Sport and Recreation Ministers' Council
The Sport and Recreation Ministers' Council provides the major mechanism for liaison between the Commonwealth Government and State and Territory Governments on matters concerned with sport and recreation in Australia. The Council is a forum for consultation and cooperation between the respective governments, its membership comprising ministers with prime responsibility for sport and recreation.
Australian Sports Commission
The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) was established in 1989 and is responsible for the implementation of the Federal Government's sport policy, including the funding and development of sport. It works closely with State and Territory Governments and national sporting organisations.
Within the ASC, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is responsible for the development of elite athletes and teams. Covering 27 sports, it has responsibility for developing joint or decentralised programs with State and Territory institutes and academies of sport. For the purposes of elite sport development, the ASC integrates sports science and medical services, sports management activities, athlete welfare and technical support services. More information on the AIS is provided in the article which follows.
Also within the ASC, the Sports Development Unit aims to enhance the management and business capabilities of sports organisations and is developing the base of Australian sport through the Active Australia initiative. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to increase the number of Australians involved in sport in the long term. This is achieved through jointly funded partnerships between government, business, national sporting organisations and local sporting clubs. The emphasis on increased participation is delivered through the Commission's range of sport development programs including coaching, officiating, junior sport, women in sport, harassment-free sport, Indigenous sport, volunteers, club management, SportNet and research.
National Sporting Organisations
Sports in Australia are managed and coordinated by National Sporting Organisations. Each organisation manages the participation and development of a specific sport in Australia. They are able to offer guidance and further contacts for those seeking information on their sport. There are 129 such organisations in Australia.
Australian Sports Drug Agency
The Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA) is the custodian of Australia's athlete anti-doping program and plays a leading role, within Australian and international sports communities, in delivering drug testing and education services. ASDA also provides policy advice to sporting organisations and the Commonwealth Government regarding 'drugs in sport' issues. ASDA is an independent statutory authority and was established in 1990.
Australia Sport International
Australia Sport International (ASI) was established by the Australian Government to connect international business to Australian suppliers of sport and recreation related goods and services. ASI helps organisations in the Australian sports and recreation industry to enhance their export performance by providing access to a range of services designed to support their international marketing efforts.
Sport Industry Australia
The peak body for the sport and recreation industry in Australia is Sport Industry Australia. Established in 1976 as the Confederation of Australian Sport, it sees its role as maximising the contribution that sport and recreation makes to the health and wellbeing of individual Australians, their community and the Australian economy. Sport Industry Australia represents the sport and recreation industry to a wide range of government, industry, corporate, media and community organisations.
Australian Olympic Committee
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the National Olympic Committee in Australia, responsible for the protection and development of the Olympic Movement in this country, as well as the promotion of its goals and principles. The AOC is committed to the development of Australia's athletes, organising and funding Australia's Olympic Teams, encouraging the development of high performance sport, and spreading Olympism throughout the wider community.
The AOC is a non-profit organisation independent of government other than the contributions made by State Governments to the State Olympic Councils for the Olympic Team Appeal. The AOC raises the necessary funds for the preparation, participation and recognition of members of Australia's Olympic Teams through corporate sponsorship, licensing and traditional fundraising activities. Each State Olympic Council has the task of raising funds via traditional fundraising activities. The AOC is an Incorporated Association whose members are the National bodies of sports on the Olympic program.
The AOC provides funds through the Medal Incentive Scheme (MIS) and the Medal Reward Scheme (MRS). The MIS provides direct financial support and incentive to athletes and their coaches who are medal winners at the 2000 Olympic Games. The AOC committed $18 million to fund the MIS over the four years prior to the 2000 Olympic Games.
Sport and Recreation Training Australia
Sport and Recreation Training Australia (SRTA) is a national Industry Training Advisory Board for sport and recreation industries. It has eight State/Territory counterparts.
The primary roles of Sport and Recreation Training Australia are to advise government on, and assist industry with, vocational education and training matters for the sport and recreation industries.
Some of the key activities undertaken by Sport and Recreation Training Australia include:
- industry consultation, research and analysis relating to vocational education and training matters;
- information dissemination and marketing to all industry stakeholders;
- development and maintenance of national Training Packages;
- management of and participation in nationally based vocational education and training projects (e.g. workplace assessment, case studies, and support materials); and
SRTA has developed training packages for various sectors of the sport and recreation industry, including outdoor recreation, sport, fitness and community recreation. The latter two packages were released in 2001.
Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER)
ACHPER is a national professional association representing people who work in the areas of health education, physical education, recreation, sport, dance, community fitness or movement sciences.
ACHPER is a membership based non-profit organisation, governed by a Volunteer Board comprising professionals from educational and community sectors. ACHPER advocates and lobbies on behalf of its members; undertakes research and provides an advisory consultancy service; conducts teacher professional development programs; and conducts leadership training programs for community fitness instructors.
Government funding for recreation and sport
Total (consolidated) expenditure by the three levels of government (Commonwealth, State and Territory, and local) on recreation in 1998-99 was $4,775m. Most expenditure was by general government ($3,447m compared with $1,915m by public non-financial corporations). Of general government expenditure (before consolidation between sectors), Commonwealth government expenditure was $236m, States and Territories spent $1,767m and local governments $1,515m. Of all public expenditure on recreation, current expenditure was far more significant than capital expenditure ($3,890m compared with $885m).
The Commonwealth Government, through the Australian Sports Commission, supports the development of sport in Australia. In 2001, the Government announced funding to sport totalling $550m to be spent over four years. Of this, $408m is aimed at elite athlete development, most of the remainder to go to the participation programs, drug-testing research and anti-doping initiatives.
In 1996-97 about 22,700 employing businesses (3.7%) sponsored sport to the value of $282m.
- participation in industry and government committees, forums, networks, and consultation and planning processes.