Western Australia’s diverse population is its strength as well as a
challenge. The challenge is to facilitate a good quality of life for
Western Australians while ensuring that those who are vulnerable, due to
a variety of circumstances, are assisted and supported to achieve a
similar quality of life to their peers.
The Equal Opportunity Commission's Policy Framework for Substantive
Equality is the guiding mechanism for government and community
organisations to achieve this. Substantive equality involves achieving
equitable outcomes as well as equal opportunity.
Sport is widely regarded as a core component of inclusion in
Australian communities through its ability to engage people from a
variety of backgrounds. Taking part with others in mutually enjoyable
sporting activities or as part of a club is a way of forming and
maintaining relationships. It can contribute to social inclusion and a
sense of belonging and promote trust, cooperation and tolerance.
The continual adaption and innovation of programs and services can
deliver more diverse participation opportunities (e.g. new environments,
scheduling variations, sport product variations and new pursuits). The Play by the Rules 7 Pillars of Inclusion is a suitable resource for clubs and sporting organisations to create inclusive sport and recreation environments.
The department has a focus on increasing participation rates amongst
the following low-participation groups; Aboriginal people, Culturally
and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, People with disability, Youth,
Seniors, Women and Low socio-economic backgrounds.
Participation among Aboriginal people in sport and recreation is much
lower at a rate of 30% compared with non-Aboriginal people whom
participate at a rate of 65% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012).
Western Australia has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people
within its population, compared to other states and territories in
Australia. An estimated 88,000 people are from an Aboriginal background.
The large geographical size of Western Australia provides a unique
challenge to delivering sport and recreation programs to remote
It is important for sport and recreation providers to engage with
Aboriginal communities when developing targeted sport and recreation
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people
Participation among those born overseas in a non-English speaking
country have a significantly lower participation rates at 17.5% compared
with the general Australian population at 65% (Australian Bureau of
Australia’s population is changing in size and diversity, as are the
communities in which sport operates. Western Australia is one of the
most multicultural states in Australia with almost one-third of the
population born overseas (Office of Multicultural Interests, 2013).
Sport can and does play a vital role in contributing to positive
settlement outcomes, promoting social inclusion and supporting migrant
and refugee integration into society.
The department’s How to be more inclusive of people from diverse backgrounds
is a publication designed for clubs and sport and recreation
organisations to increase understanding of the barriers migrants and
refugees experience in sport and recreation, and explore the benefits of
being inclusive to increase participation.
People with disability
Participation rates in sport among people with disability are
significantly lower compared with able bodied people. In adults,
participation rates are 30% and 65% respectively (Australian Bureau of
People with disability include individuals with physical, sensory,
intellectual, psychiatric, and/or other health-related disabilities. All
people regardless of ability should have access to sport and recreation
opportunities and receive the same physical, mental and social benefits
from participating (Clearinghouse for Sport, 2016).
People with disability who require attendant care support to
participate at community venues and activities have a right to equal
participation in the community.
The department is affiliated with the Companion Card program, which
assists people with a significant, permanent disability, who can
demonstrate that they are unable to access most community activities and
venues without attendant care support. The department strongly
encourages all community sporting venues to affiliate with the Companion
The Disability Services Commission’s Count Me In
is a long-term strategy to guide all Western Australians when
responding to people with disability. It has a vision that ‘All people
live in welcoming communities that facilitate citizenship, friendship,
mutual support and a fair go for everyone’. A key focus area is
participation and contribution for people with disability in all aspects
The department has produced Including people with disability in sport and recreation publication which
provides advice when engaging people with disability. This publication
also includes the inclusion spectrum which outlines alternative modes
to focus on modifying activities to support inclusion. It is important
to balance maximising individual potential and maintaining activity
Like other developed countries,
Australia’s population is aging. The number of Australians aged 65 and
over is expected to increase rapidly, from around 13% of the population
in 2002 to around 25% by 2042 (Clearinghouse for Sport, 2016).
Participation generally decreases with age. People aged 15-17 years
have the highest participation rates at 78% in sport and recreation,
while people aged 65 years and over had the lowest participation rates
at 50.4% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012).
The aging process is often accompanied by significant declines in
physical, cognitive, and/or social function that leads to loss of
independence and quality of life, while contributing to substantial
Being active through the older years in sport and recreation can
improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. It also helps
maintain and build new friendships through being an active part of the
The Seniors Recreation Council of WA supports seniors’ involvement in sport and recreation within Western Australia.
The transition from childhood to
adulthood is an important phase in building lifelong habits towards
leading a healthy, active lifestyle.
Engaging youth to be physically active, through sport and recreation
is important for promoting health and wellbeing of individuals, and
building stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities across
The department focuses on various areas of Youth based upon
differences in culture, ability, gender, age and socio-economic
Gender differences in the rate of sports participation exists across
all activities (including participants, coaches, officials,
administrators and board directors), age categories, and in most
Females within segments of the population, including persons with
disability, culturally and linguistically diverse, Aboriginal, young
girls, teenagers and mature age Australians, are generally
under-represented in sport participation compared with their male
Socio-economic status is a measure of an individual’s or family’s
economic and social position based on education, income and occupation.
Evidence suggest that participation rates are lower in individuals
whom have either no formal education qualifications, low income or are
People living in the most disadvantaged areas may be vulnerable to
risk factors for social exclusion, such as limited access to medical and
transport services, potentially leading to isolation from broader
society. Sport and recreation contributes to building social inclusion
and promotes a sense of belonging.
The department uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas to identify geographical areas for
targeted inclusive participation program and service delivery.
The Australian Governments Health Care Card system is also used by
the department to target programs and services that do not have a
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2012) Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia 2012. Catalogue no. 4156.0, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved in April 2016 from www.abs.gov.au
Clearinghouse for Sport (2016) Persons with a Disability and Sport, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved in April 2016 from www.clearinghouseforsport.gov.au
Clearinghouse for Sport (2016) Mature-aged Sport and Physical Activity, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved in April 2016 from www.clearinghouseforsport.gov.au
Office of Multicultural Interests (2013) Cultural Diversity in Western Australia: A Demographic Profile, Perth, Western Australia; Government of Western Australia.