The purpose of the Great Southern Regional Sport and Recreation Plan
is to assist in defining a clear direction for the development of sport
and recreation in the region and provide a blueprint to support this
strategy. The plan has been developed following extensive research
across the 11 partner local governments. The outcome has resulted in
four strategic themes being identified for future planning in the region
with regard to the potential impact on sport, physical activity,
health, tourism and the economy.
The following recommendations should be implemented over a 20 year
timeline, subject to regular and ongoing annual monitoring and
evaluation over the project time frame:
- Structural review
- Independent review of all sport specific structures within
the Great Southern region and establishment of hierarchy of provision.
- Establish a coordinating group (task and finish) of regional
representatives of all sports with responsibility for interpreting the
- Club and volunteer development: alliances, partnerships, training and development
- Establish a regional sports and recreation officers network/partnership for local governments (operational focus).
- Trails, events, economy and tourism
- Facility development: sustainable and strategic facility development
The plan pays regard to the aspirations and objectives of each of the 11 local governments:
- City of Albany
- Shire of Broomehill-Tambellup
- Shire of Cranbrook
- Shire of Denmark
- Shire of Gnowangerup
- Shire of Jerramungup
- Shire of Katanning
- Shire of Kent
- Shire of Kojonup
- Shire of Plantagenet
- Shire of Woodanilling
These local governments form the Great Southern region as identified
within their respective strategic community plans and broader integrated
planning frameworks. In addition, a series of strategic plans and
regionally significant publications and partnerships underpin the
direction and recommendations contained within this plan.
Consistent themes include:
- A divergence across the region in relation to population growth
and decline. The main regional population centres are projecting growth
whilst the trend for small remote rural communities is decline.
- Asset management systems and processes vary significantly across
the 11 local governments and there is a need to support a more
standardized approach, particularly for those local governments with
- Water management and water re-use will continue to be a significant influencing factor across all local governments.
- There is a strong commitment across the region for a number of cross boundary projects. These include:
- The Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence
- Development of Centennial Park in Albany
- The regional motocross venue at Cranbrook
- An integrated tracks and trails network
- A consistent approach to the development of a coordinated events plan to underpin tourism and economic development initiatives
- The development of equine infrastructure. There is however
the potential to integrate development more effectively between the City
of Albany and shires of Plantagenet, Katanning, Kojonup and Denmark
where the majority of regional equine infrastructure and activity is
- The need to provide recreational infrastructure for an ageing community and for the youth.
- The ability to share learning and develop innovative solutions
in facilitating the delivery of sport and recreation programs as well as
services and facilities that would benefit those with limited available
- Co-location and the sharing of resources (particularly with
schools) should be a key focus for future investment in sport and
- Volunteer support and succession planning is a critical concern across most local governments.
- There is a strong link between investing in maintaining and
improving sporting and recreational facilities is highlighted as being
of significant benefit to the mental and physical health and wellbeing
of the regional population.
- Local governments value the role that strategic alliances play
within the region as a mechanism to effectively share resources and
provide a stronger voice in promoting the region and providing regional
advocacy to attract funding.
- Access to high quality social infrastructure is consistently
highlighted as an area which exiting residents and future migrants
actively seek out when deciding to reside in an area.
Targeted consultation with local government partners and State
Sporting Associations highlighted the following as key challenges
currently experienced and which this plan could assist in addressing.
- Asset management: the need to ensure all local
governments follow a considered and adaptable asset management process
which enables future budget planning to be managed effectively.
- Quality of service: the need to maintain and enhance the current level and quality of service provision within available resources.
- Consistency of provision: ensuring there is
consistency across all sport and recreation services in the level of
provision, accessibility and management of infrastructure.
- Benchmarking and resourcing: continuing to develop appropriate standards/benchmarks which are then adopted and continue to be implemented.
- Volunteer and club development: the need to support and facilitate good governance and succession planning.
- Cross boundary developments: the need to
continue to foster and develop alliances and partnerships with
neighbouring local governments with a view to developing:
- a regional events strategy
- shared project implementation strategies
- shared training and development program
- sharing of staff and knowledge
- Asset management by clubs: support will be
needed to ensure that effective governance and appropriate sinking funds
are committed to sustaining the facility.
- The role of State Sporting Associations: State Sporting Associations not servicing regional areas effectively.
- KidSport: there is a need to continue the investment (and potential expansion) of KidSport.
- General health and wellbeing: drugs, alcohol
abuse, mental health and general wellbeing has been identified as a
critical issue faced by sports such as Australian Rules Football with
limited current intervention measures. A greater focus on the potential
role clubs have in this area should be explored.
- Grant assistance and ongoing financial support:
concern over the loss of Royalties for Regions; ability to secure small
grants for the ongoing operation and upgrading of key facilities and
the over reliance on crop funding to underpin some sporting
infrastructure which may not provide a secure long-term solution.
- Equine development: a considered approach will need to be undertaken for the development of equine infrastructure across the region.
- Development of youth facilities and activities: the need address a previous lack of investment in youth services and infrastructure.
- Competition: the loss of clubs and competitive structure and the lack of consistency with competition aligns across sports.
- Social isolation and loss of an ageing population: there is an ongoing requirement to provide services to keep people well-aged within the community.
- Shared use and co-location: the potential
consolidation and co-location of facility development with existing
infrastructure. To reduce costs of servicing and provide a greater
- Affordability: ensuring that a balance is struck between people’s ability to pay and the level of subsidy desired to maintain the service.
- Growth in female sport and competition: this is necessitating a different approach to facility design and functionality of sporting infrastructure.
- Integration with the Aboriginal community: there
is a lack of engagement with the Aboriginal community, requiring
innovative approaches to the provision of services and programs and
greater training of clubs in valuing diversity and increasing
The demographic analysis highlights the 45 to 64 year age range as
being the predominant age of the resident population across all local
government areas with the exception of the Shire of Kent. There are
however relatively high percentages of younger children within the
regional area associated with young to middle age family units.
The median weekly household income for all local governments in the
Great Southern is lower than Western Australia, which highlights,
indicatively, a potentially lower capacity to pay for discretionary
services. Conversely, however, the Great Southern has a higher
proportion of high income households than Western Australia as a whole
indicating that there is a strong discrepancy between those who have
potentially high levels of disposable incomes and those that do not.
The Aboriginal population base is relatively low and dispersed across
the region. In such circumstances, the integration of the Aboriginal
community requirements will need to be incorporated within the existing
infrastructure and will require ongoing assimilation and training of
club volunteers/members in valuing diversity and equity of access.
Future growth in the area is likely to be associated with tourism and in
particular regional heritage, flora, fauna and accessibility to tracks
Current trends indicate that for the Great Southern, the following need to be considered:
- The gradual diminishing role that organised sport is playing in remote regional areas.
- Cost effective and efficient co-location of infrastructure
should underpin the rationale for future investment in infrastructure.
- Traditional venue specific sports of golf, Australian Rules
Football, cricket, bowls and hockey are anticipated to continue to be
the main base level of provision within the more remote rural areas.
- Traditional clubs in regional areas within the main population
centres of the City of Albany and Shire of Katanning are likely to
provide the main competition bases and therefore the focus will be on
providing accessibility to the more remote rural communities for major
- The shires of Plantagenet, Kojonup and Denmark as secondary
regional administrative centres are likely to continue to provide the
secondary competition venues to be used as feeders for the two main
- The complex nature of competition structures, particularly
associated with Australian Rules Football and the financial expenditure
associated with delivering high performing competitive teams (by
importing players) is damaging the delivery of sport at the local
level.This now needs to be addressed if the long-term viability of clubs
is to be secured. This will require the development of different
delivery models in partnership with State Sporting Associations.
- Non-traditional sports clubs which are associated with unique
locational characteristics and economic drivers, such as ballistics,
equine and motorsport use will be venue specific and are required to
service a broader regional population.
- Due to the strong growth in female participation in
traditionally male dominated sports, newly developed facility
infrastructure will be required to provide flexible unisex changing and
ablution infrastructure to a higher standard which inevitably has
significant cost and ongoing asset management implications.
- The use of school infrastructure should continue to be pursued
as a mechanism for offsetting ongoing operational costs and to avoid
unnecessary duplication of provision.
- It is important to prioritise strategic investment across the
region and agree how this is to be delivered, funded and
sustained.Strategies and relative priorities and support for investment
decisions should be developed collaboratively and agreed across all
The rationale underpinning the strategic directions together with the
detailed recommendations, priority, lead organisation, partners and
timeline is identified at section seven of the report. Each
recommendation is aligned to Strategic Directions 6: Strategic Directions for the Western Australian Sport and Recreation Industry 2016-2020.
By creating this strategic plan, the Great Southern has shown its
recognition that sport and recreation is an intergral part of creating a
liveable region with thriving communities. The challenge will be to
keep the momentum going to ensure continuous improvement and responses
to community’s needs. Continual review and revision of strategic
planning documents, is a vital component of the strategic planning
process. Policy makers and planners need to continue the dialogue begun
with community and all stakeholders, in order to ensure that their needs
and concerns are being addressed. In addition, as new programs and
initiatives are implemented in response to this initial planning
process, new weaknesses and threats will develop. Hence the need for
review and ongoing consultation.