The ACT Government will answer community calls for a long-term strategic plan for Canberra’s grassroots sport and recreation, if an ACT Greens motion passes the Legislative Assembly today.
“As thousands of participants kick off their winter competitions across Canberra, the ACT Government needs to map out the future of community sport in Canberra,” said Johnathan Davis, MLA for Brindabella and ACT Greens spokesperson for Sport and Recreation.
“Sports don’t just offer us fitness, but a sense of belonging, a community and a connection to one another and to nature. Being active and part of a vibrant sporting community is great for our mental wellbeing, which has been thrown into sharp focus by the pandemic.
“Across Canberra, people are returning to sport in great numbers after COVID-19. Basketball ACT has been in the media saying it would need to find more than 50 hours of court space every week just to run competitions to accommodate the influx of teams.
“Now more than ever, the ACT Government needs to urgently develop a facilities management plan to care for existing facilities and meet community needs with new facilities, making sure those facilities protect participants from extreme weather in our changing climate.
“Sport provides physical and mental benefits to our community, but cost is too often a barrier to participation. This motion calls on the assembly to examine barriers to participation in sport, what is currently being done about it, and identify future steps to ensuring access for everyone in our community.
“The policy the Greens took to the election was strongly informed by consultation with community stakeholders and that’s the policy I’m asking the government to advance.”
The motion calls on the ACT Government to:
- Develop a long-term strategic plan for sport and recreation in the ACT, to replace the ‘Active 2020’ plan that expires at the end of this year
- Develop a facilities management plan to care for existing facilities and meet community need with new facilities
- Climate-proof our sport and recreation facilities with a particular focus on heat and smoke
- Tackle barriers to participation in sport for Canberrans facing disadvantage
- Fulfill the commitment in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement to explore options to recognise a Sport and Recreation Industry Peak Body to support the sector
- Report back to the Assembly no later than December 2021.
“Co-designing these improvements with the community will deliver better outcomes on every front,” Mr Davis said.
The Coalition of Major Participation Sports (COMPS) ACT has welcomed the motion, with Chair Kim Kachel saying it’s a positive step that promotes the needs of community sport.
“COMPS ACT is fully supportive of any initiative that is geared towards achieving better outcomes for community sport in the ACT and surrounding region,” Mr Kachel said.
“The Greens, through Johnathan Davis, are showing that they are intent upon fulfilling their commitment to the electorate and to community sport.
“COMPS ACT believes that the changing nature of people’s way of life, coupled with the recent effects of the pandemic, illustrates a need for increasing the support to community sport. This need is driven by the evidence that highlights the social, health and economic benefits of citizens being involved in sporting activity.
“A collective approach to this matter in the ACT is a useful step forward in achieving those benefits.
“It is worth noting that while the Greens’ are elevating the value of having an industry representative body, that COMPS ACT intends to continue using its collective effort to lead and promote community sport in the ACT.”