PLAY: More participation

We want more Australians, particularly young Australians, participating in sport more often.

Play.Sport.Australia., our participation game plan, sets out how the ASC can best support national participation outcomes. Our ambitions for sport are simple; at the national level we want to see more Australians participating in sport and at the individual sport level we want to see sports which the ASC invests in achieving year on year membership and participation growth.

To enable this, the ASC has focused on better understanding what is happening in sport through the launch of AusPlay, a new national participation survey on sport and physical recreation, and driving demand for lifelong participation in sport through our national Sporting Schools program. Through Play.Sport.Australia. the ASC continues to invest in NSOs through a refined Participation Investment Categorisation Framework and the provision of strategy and project support.

Our objective is to achieve sustained participation growth across the sector and for Sporting Schools to be a core feature of Australian junior sport, helping to develop a love of sport in the next generation. In delivering these objectives, the ASC aims to work effectively with sport sector partners to develop and share industry knowledge and evidence to help address participation challenges.

The Play pillar is an important component in the delivery of PBS outcome 1 to achieve improved participation in structured physical activity at the community level.

Our approach

In 2015-16 the ASC has focused on delivery of the Sporting Schools program, which officially launched on 20 July 2015, and the launch of the AusPlay survey. In addition, the new participation investment model based on categorisation was implemented, providing a more consistent and transparent approach to participation funding.

Key activity areas include:

  • providing targeted investment to NSOs to help them grow their participation base
  • providing services and support that assist NSOs with participation strategies, planning and operations
  • developing and disseminating high-quality information, research and data to better understand what is happening in sport
  • driving demand for lifelong participation in sport by focusing on younger Australians through the Sporting Schools program.

Our success is measured in the uptake of Sporting Schools and the trends in sport participation data, including membership growth of NSOs, and how effectively the ASC is assisting the sector through targeted investment and support. 

Our results

Table 5: ASC performance against Play deliverables



Supporting statement 

Implementation of the new participation investment model1

Achieved 100 percent

The ASC implemented the NSO Participation Investment Categorisation Framework for 2015–16 participation investment. The ASC continues to use this framework to prioritise investment to NSOs.

62 NSOs funded to deliver participation in line with new participation investment principles1

Achieved 100 percent

61 NSOs received participation funding in 2015–16.

80% of priority participation NSOs are growing their participation base1,2

Achieved 100 percent

28 of the 35 identified priority sports (80%) have increased full active participation, with 25 of these also achieving increased participation through exposure.

Initial phase of data collection and analysis to establish benchmark participation data and enable development of key performance indicators1,2

Achieved 100 percent

Data collection for the AusPlay survey commenced in November 2015. As of 30 June 2016, more than 18,200 surveys have been completed. It is anticipated that the first AusPlay results will be published in November 2016.

4030 schools funded to deliver practical physical activity in a school setting through Sporting Schools1,2

Achieved 100 percent

4393 schools were funded under the Sporting Schools program in 2015–16.

600,000 children participating in the Sporting Schools program1,2

Achieved 100 percent

1.29 million Sporting Schools program attendances.

Delivery of the Play.Sport.Australia. communication approach with high social media engagement including online video content and public relations activity1


Significant progress

Significant Progress
During 2015–16, the ASC released two video campaigns, titled ’No time for Never‘ and ’Stick with it’. A third video campaign has been developed and is planned for release in 2016–17.

Completion of 47 capability projects across 43 NSOs1


Significant progress

Significant Progress
38 Participation Investment Capability grant projects were undertaken in 2015-16. The remaining nine projects are expected to be completed in 2016–17.

  1. 2015-19 Corporate Plan and 2015-16 Annual Operational Plan
  2. Portfolio Budget Statements 2015-16

The ASC successfully delivered a number of key initiatives under the Play pillar in 2015–16, including exceeding planned performance target for the Sporting Schools program, with funding provided to 4393 schools and over 1.29 million program attendances. The program continues to grow rapidly, demonstrating a successful partnership between the ASC and NSOs to deliver quality sporting programs, including access to coaches, resources and funding. In the latter part of 2015–16, the ASC also reaffirmed its focus on sport and education through a commitment to leading the development and implementation of a national initiative that aims to improve opportunities for all children to participate in sport in the school environment, including the development of a national literacy standard.

AusPlay was launched in November 2015 and fills a major gap in sport and recreation data. During 2015–16, the ASC collected participation data from 15,250 adults and 2,970 children. The AusPlay survey is a key component of Play.Sport.Australia. and demonstrates the ASC’s commitment to providing robust data to help inform strategies to grow participation. The AusPlay survey is on track to collect data from 20,000 adults and 3,600 children annually and in May 2016 interim findings from the first year were shared with the sport sector to ensure that data is relevant and available to users.

Supplementing the AusPlay data, the ASC continues to use the ASPR to track NSO participation across a range of measures. This includes membership with sporting organisations, or active participation, and broader exposure to sports through events, school sport or program-level activities. In 2015, 80% of priority category sports reported increases in membership based participation while 71% of NSOs reported increases in the participation base through broader measures.

The Participation Investment Categorisation Framework was successfully implemented in 2015–16 to prioritise funding to those NSOs who are best placed to deliver participation outcomes. Under the new categorisation framework, 61 NSOs received participation funding in 2015–16. The implementation of the new investment model resulted in the removal of one funding category, reducing the number of NSOs receiving funding to 61 from an expected 62. The full application of the participation investment model will take effect from 2016–17 with future categorisation to be informed by ASPR and the AusPlay survey. Participation Investment Capability grants and project delivery support was provided to 43 NSOs to deliver 47 projects. All projects commenced during 2015–16, however, nine projects have been delayed and the ASC will work with NSOs to deliver these projects in 2016–17.

A major focus in 2015–16 has been communications to support Play.Sport.Australia. and further promote the benefits of sport. A series of videos were released by the ASC during the year along with a dedicated Facebook page, which attracted high levels of social media engagement. The ‘No Time for Never’ video, released in October 2015, attracted more than 1.5 million views while the two ‘Stick With it’ videos, featuring elite athletes Laura Geitz and Stephen Moore, have been viewed almost 646,000 times since being released in March 2016. A third video campaign was prepared but its release withheld until 2016–17.