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All cultures

A pathway to participation for all

People from migrant and refugee backgrounds are often enthusiastic about sport and recreation. Like all Australians they enjoy the opportunity to participate in a supported and structured environment.

The All Cultures pages are designed to provide information to coaches, trainers and volunteers delivering sport and recreation programs for people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Whilst this information is specially directed towards people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, the strategies that we have suggested apply to all and are an integral part of general coaching practices.

All Cultures is designed to support coaches, administrators and sporting clubs by:

  • helping to build an understanding of the issues that affect the level of involvement of people from a multicultural background
  • providing practical strategies to recruit and retain this target group in sport
  • modeling successful strategies and programs currently adopted by a variety of sports across Australia
  • provide data on available support network and resource centres
  • making available important support tools such as guidelines and templates.

The landscape

Australia is one of the most diverse countries in the world.  In the 2006 Census, approximately 22 per cent of Australia’s population stated that they were born overseas, with over 40 per cent having one or both parents born overseas.  15.8 per cent of Australians spoke a language other than English in their homes, and collectively Australians speak well over 20 languages.  (DIAC Population Flows: Immigration Aspects, 2006 – 07 Edition)

Multicultural policies have provided the opportunity for people to preserve and express their cultural heritage while simultaneously allowing for equal rights and responsibilities under Australian laws. Over the three decades that multiculturalism has been in existence as a public policy concept, it has greatly supported access and equity, and hence, greater participation in the physical, social and economic life of Australia. Sports can often play a critical role in promoting multiculturalism as it often can create connections, openness and respect between different individuals and groups.  

Cultural differences, attitudes (interpersonal, institutional and internalised) and a lack of awareness, knowledge and accessibility are all important issues that have contributed to the under representation of people from migrant, new arrival and refugee backgrounds in Australian sport.

To effectively increase participation and interest in sport of this group, coaches and clubs, as the primary drivers of sports programs in this country, need to be to be supported.

Your community today - your role

As a coach or club member it is important to take an interest in and become familiar with the circumstances of players/participants under your influence that are from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.

A greater understanding and awareness of lifestyle, experiences, attitudes and culture of people from multicultural backgrounds by sports coaches and clubs can help promote social inclusion in communities. It will encourage participation and support positive sporting and social experiences of every member of your club or community group.

It is important to have an understanding of what we mean when we use terms such as migrant, refugee and asylum seeker.


A migrant is someone who chooses to leave their country of origin for a range of personal or economic reasons.


A refugee is someone who has suffered or has a well-founded fear of suffering persecution for reasons of race, religion, and membership of a particular social group or political opinion and as a result of this has fled their country.

Asylum seeker 

An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking asylum or protection in a country that is not his or her country of origin or nationality. Asylum seekers may be refugees, but until their application is approved by the government they will not be recognised as refugees.

Broad terms 

Multicultural, Intercultural and CLD or CALD are terms used to describe people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The term is used to describe people who are born overseas or who are Australian born with one or both parents (or grandparents) born overseas.

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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.