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Play Well the focus of Australia’s first Sport Participation Strategy

23 November 2023

Aussies are being called on to Play Well as part of the nation’s first co-designed Sport Participation Strategy released today.

A group of female soccer players in orange team singlets celebrate.

With safe, welcoming, inclusive and fun experiences at the heart of it, Australia’s Sport Participation Strategy is a united approach with a vision that ‘everyone has a place in sport.’

The new Strategy and the Play Well ethos complements Australia’s High Performance 2032+ Sport Strategy, which is built on creating an environment where athletes and sports can Win Well.

Creating great sporting environments and experiences is central to the Strategy which focuses on people of all ages, backgrounds, genders and abilities coming together to access the benefits of sport.

To mark today’s launch, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), through support from the Australian Government, has opened a $10.3 million Play Well Participation Grant program to kickstart this exciting new era.

ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM is a member of the Strategy’s Project Steering Group which oversaw the development of the Strategy and said it’s a defining moment for Australian sport.

“Sport matters to so many Australians but our experiences engaging with sport have been vastly different,” Mr Perkins said.

“We’ve listened to the system and we recognise that sport needs to change so that everyone feels welcome.

“We acknowledge that delivering community sport is getting harder. Spaces to play sport are few and far between, especially in regional areas, and the current sport system is often too structured which turns participants away.

“By working together, we can address some of the barriers and challenges and build a stronger Australia.”

The Strategy is built around six priority areas:

  • Empowering people and organisations
  • Driving lifelong involvement
  • Activating places and spaces
  • Building connections
  • Equitable access
  • Transforming culture

Sport NSW CEO and Project Steering Group member Stuart Hodge said the Strategy presents an opportunity for the sector to focus on what is needed for Australians to Play Well.

“Sport plays a massive role in building communities. An aligned, national plan will lead to better connections between those involved in sport and result in greater recognition, investment and support for the sector,” he said.

The Strategy provides a roadmap over three horizons to 2032 and beyond.

The ASC’s Play Well Participation Grant program is a key activity of the Strategy’s Horizon 1 which focuses on aligning the sector and driving participation in sport.

National sport and physical activity organisations will be able to apply for grants to deliver innovative projects that drive a lifelong involvement in sport.

Local Government Councils can also apply for funding to host Come & Try days and multi-sport festivals in their communities that promote equitable access for all. Applications for the Play Well Participation Grant Program are open until 23 February 2024.

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