Sport & Recreation Victoria started a conversation about this time last year across Government and with the sports sector and included probably many of you today in terms of having a conversation about what is it that sport provides us? What is the value of sport? What are our challenges and what are the opportunities to advance what sport offers the people of Victoria and then broadly I guess for the room thinking about sport for Australia and part of that conversation was around considering the challenges ahead in terms of the future. We are in always a changing landscape and part of that conversation was thinking about future proofing, where we’re at and trying to acknowledge that the efforts of today are barely keeping us aligned to the status quo. How do we step change? How do we advance the offering and the value of sport and active recreation to all Victorians so that we can all be involved?
That conversation brought to the fore a number of key issues which produced a product that I’d like to talk to you about a little bit today which the Active Victoria Strategic Framework is, a key document for not just government but through those conversations with the sector establishes four future partnerships and forward planning some strategic directions and you acknowledge immediately that No. 2 there talks about the very themes of today’s gathering but without separating off each strategic direction the risk is not to see the whole picture of where diversity and inclusion fits amongst the many challenges and the opportunities that we face in the years ahead.
Part of the conversation talked to us and reinforced to Government and I think across the sector itself what the value of sport provides and we’ve heard some really powerful stories already this morning, some really confronting but certainly sport for sport’s sake is just one small dot point in the broad dialogue. We understand the power of sport and the values of sport for our community cohesion, for the livability of this great city that we’re in and the State of Victoria and Australia more broadly. We identify the connection between the physical activity that’s involved in sport and particularly the physical activity that’s involving active recreation in impacting on the health of our country and it’s an industry. There are jobs. There is economic growth. There’s opportunity to leverage what that is for the greater good of our prosperity.
When we really sat down and looked at what the value of sport is – what have we currently got in front of us? What are our stocks? These were some of the figures we came up with in Victoria. We’re talking about a really strong infrastructure of clubs, 16,000 of them, facilities that many countries and even other States would dream of being able to access and enjoy our activity.
Active Rec shouldn’t be forgotten in this conversation. It’s a huge provider of activity for many, many Victorians, in fact when we compare data which I’ll get to shortly we can see where Active Rec sits and I guess one of the opportunities and the challenges for us is to identify where it sits in sport and what sports role in the traditional sense has in offering active recreation in a way that’s consumable to the needs and wants of today’s generation.
Participation rates – they tell us it’s pretty strong but how strong is the question and where does it need to be for us to achieve what is possible with regards to livability, economic drivers and success in health outcomes. It’s a big industry and it can be bigger and with those offsetting health costs it is almost a no-brainer investment for government and for families to consider with producing outcomes of wellbeing of health and of again prosperity. We’ve talked about issues of race and we’ve talked about matters that impact the way that we get along together and sport we know is a terrific vehicle but is it doing all it can and we know there are huge gaps there that we can address.
So as part of Active Victoria when we considered what those assets were we wanted to have a little bit of the data too to inform what those six strategic directions were and we can see in Victoria that if on that right-hand-side we can see half of the Victorian’s are involved in sport and active recreation. Recreation alone, there’s about a quarter and then there are those who have no participation at all. The question is what is it we’re not offering to those? Why is it not of the same value? Is it accessible? Is it not inclusive? Well, I think we know some of the truths about that.
Male and female participation rates – they’re improving but they’re nowhere near equal. Then we’ve got how long do we endure in these activities? Age wise it drops off hugely so what is that saying not just about our lifestyles but what are the offerings? When are they available? How do we connect to people with opportunities to be involved in our sport and active recreation programs?
What are people doing? These are the most popular activities when we look at sport and active recreation. Most of it is pretty unstructured yet sport almost be definition has the elements of structure so how do we loosen that up a little bit to provide more access to what a lot of the population want and here’s the stats that ring true for today’s topics about who’s not involved. What cohorts are we missing? And that provides a platform for us to then consider what are the strategic directions where Government can invest, where the sector can focus and where the offerings become really meaningful, easy, affordable and really integrating to the lifestyles that many of us currently enjoy but not enough of us do.
There’s a powerful stat and it almost knocks me out every time and that’s this one here for Victoria, it’s about growth. Just getting here today was a struggle. I don’t know what it’s going to be like for my kids but what is sport and active recreation going to be like for my kids and your kids and our families of the future?
So the vision of Active Victoria sets us with these ideas here and I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel here but the conversations that we’ve had with you to inform this strategic framework tells us these are the things that we would like to see in the future but how do we get there and I think this is what today’s about and what your contributions and your conversations will be about is that how and the how needs to be informed by those who are involved and those who would like to be involved. In government we like to use a word ‘co-design’ a lot. Sounds nice but if it’s done really well I think we get a sense of what it is for those people who are currently not involved where the inclusion opportunities are and what needs to be adapted to ensure everybody has an offering that they can identify with, want to be involved with and can connect with others in.
So, these strategic directions while set out there I’d like to focus just on the first two as mentioned before they intersect across each of the six and specifically when we’re looking at the kind of strategic direction that focuses on inclusion. We’ve touched on a number of those themes already this morning so with those breakthroughs that we would like to see in this vision of Active Victoria we can see success addressing a number of those areas but I think in touching on co-design and the way forward and I’m going to way forward because of the amount of slides that I have here.
This rings true to me in terms of the partnerships that is needed and the one that I think today is about is not represented across that diagram there but it’s about those who can influence the product design, the offering that we give, the inclusive and the welcoming environments that we can establish as we grow exponentially in population size and in the diversity of our population. How do we actually get to a point where we’re not having a seminar like this, we’re not talking about these issues in the depth that we have and in the Active Victoria that is addressing in 40 years time one of the tenants of strategic directions isn’t around inclusion or diversity. We’d do it so well in the future and that’s our aspiration through this strategic framework.
Just a couple of things I’d like to mention that Sport & Rec Victoria is focusing on current investment in our partnership with sport and with local government. Change Our Game we’ve mentioned. It’s really exciting some of the work coming from Change Our Game. I’ve noticed one or two in the room who are involved in our Change Our Game Champions Program and that’s CEO’s of prominent State sporting organisations making a pledge for gender equality across their organisations and what they’re telling us is one of the key things that they’d like to influence is right down to grassroots, down to club level, about the role of women in leadership positions in club land, a gap that they see and one difficult to influence when you’re at a State level organisation knowing that you’re constituents are not always close or nearby and certainly have a constitution to drive agendas that they see as important.
The Change Our Game campaign is multifaceted. It involves participation opportunities that we’re investing through our partners, our State sporting organisations and some of our Sport & Rec organisations. We’re looking at place-based initiatives with Latrobe Valley an area of need where disadvantage is significant so when we are looking at diversity and inclusion, disadvantaged communities are a really important part of the conversation and one that we need to find solutions for.
We trialled pop-up sports with partner Rec Link, which was to look at a model of delivery not dissimilar to the UK Street Games and we can see some real benefits in the way that that program works and we’d like to work towards further investment in products like that, ones that are different, things that really push the boundaries of how sport is offered to communities.
I’d just like to mention some of the other work that other parts of Government are involved in and this is the multicultural sports grant fund and here are some of the organisations that are delivering programs under that fund. This is a $4 million investment over four years and part of the process of identifying these investments were the sports and the communities they wanted to work with co-designing content, program design, around leadership, around participation, around place and it will be really exciting to see the results of this investment, humble as it is, I mean sport doesn’t have a lot of money from Government but when we can try to achieve step change through efforts like this we’d be delighted to see rich results.
So I’m going to close on that note and thank you for the time to raise your awareness to what the Active Victoria Strategy is about but I’m particularly interested and look forward to the conversations about how and about what you bring to the table and what Government brings to the table and how it works together to achieve that vision.