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Thousands have their say on future of sport participation

Almost 7,000 Australians have provided feedback on the development of the nation’s first codesigned National Sport Participation Strategy.

Participants gathered at stairs.
Attendees at the National Sport Participation Strategy workshop in Canberra.

The Australian Sports Commission is working with sector stakeholders to facilitate the development of the strategy, which aims to transform the way participation is connected, delivered and supported in Australia.

Over the past five weeks, workshops in every state and territory have consulted with key stakeholders on ideas, opportunities and barriers to participating in sport.

More than 450 members from national sporting organisations, national sporting organisations for people with disability, state sporting organisations, state and territory governments, community organisations and local government attended the workshops to provide feedback on the work done to date.

VicSport CEO Lisa Hasker said the Melbourne workshop was a wonderful opportunity to bring Victorian participation leaders together to discuss the issues and opportunities for sport participation moving forward.

“The key challenges for the sector are duplication, communication and alignment across the sector and providing customer centric products in sport where participants can consume sport to suit their needs,” she said.

Paralympics Australia Senior Performance & Talent Advisor Tim Matthews said a national strategy would go a long way in increasing participation for all Australians.

“It will always be a challenge to consider and capture the views of such a wide sector and there will always be challenges when it comes to understanding the unique barriers to participation, but this strategy development process gives sport the opportunity to raise these challenges and begin to identify solutions at a system level for the benefit of everyone.”

Kylie Denny from Scouts ACT was very interested in the Canberra workshop and said she was keen to work out where activities like Scouts fit in the sporting space.

“We do lots of sporting activities like hiking, bushwalking, rock climbing and caving that aren’t necessarily competitive but are still getting people out and about, moving, and engaged in the community,” she said.

Wrestling ACT President Ben Keaney said a national strategy was integral to the future of sport participation in Australia.

“We want to see sports evolving and changing, taking into account changes in technology, environment and economics. By being dynamic we’ll be able to increase participation and have better outcomes for sports and individuals,” he said.

A workshop session was also held as part of the recent Participation Leaders Network conference held at the AIS campus in Canberra.

Athletics Australia General Manager, Growth & Development Adam Bishop said the strategy represents a powerful opportunity to galvanise the sector.

“It's ultimately about developing a blueprint for a thriving, sustainable community sports industry that delivers more physically literate, connected, happier and healthier Australians.”

Nearly 6,500 people provided feedback on the current state of sport participation completing an online survey.

The Project Steering Group, which was announced in March to support the strategy, will now identify the key concepts and themes with targeted focus groups and pillar working groups to follow as the strategy is developed.

Find out more about the strategy at

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