Aboriginal participation


The Department of Sport and Recreation considers sport and recreation to play a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and their communities. It provides a range of benefits including increasing self-esteem, social cohesion, better health and overall wellbeing.


Western Australia is one of the most culturally-diverse of all States and Territories with an estimated 88,000 of our 2.35 million population from an Aboriginal background. Evidence shows sport and recreation is a significant contributor in delivering a range of benefits to these communities where there is a need to improve overall health and community wellbeing.


The Department has been contributing to the healthy lifestyle of Aboriginal Australians through its general programs and Aboriginal-specific programs for two decades. For the last decade, the Department’s commitment to Aboriginal sport has been further supported by the Community Participation team who have taken the lead in coordinating and facilitating State-wide sport and recreation initiatives targeting Aboriginal communities.

The Department has developed significant positive relationships with the Aboriginal community over many years. This includes community groups in remote sites and the rural and greater metropolitan area. In continuing this partnership and delivering upon our commitment the Department values:

  • Mutual respect – establish, maintain and enhance significant and rewarding relationships with Aboriginal people based on respect. This includes working together on mutually-agreed policies and projects and investment in priority initiatives.
  • Listening and understanding – listen to and have a well-developed understanding of the challenges faced by Aboriginal people. 
  • Cultural diversity – recognise the diversity of cultural heritage among Aboriginal people and understand that acknowledgement, education and respect of culture plays an important role in creating strong successful partnerships. 
  • Cultural awareness – develop ways for our workforce and those participating and working in sport and recreation to broaden their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal cultural factors to promote culturally-respectful practices and enhance our capacity to build effective partnerships. 
  • Collaboration – inform and guide policy, programs and community development initiatives within the sport and recreation context that builds the capacity of the Aboriginal community.


A network of Aboriginal Sport Development Officers (ASDOs) work throughout the State to help develop and promote sport and recreation among the Aboriginal community of Western Australia. ASDOs engage the community to contribute positively to the organisation, delivery and management of community-based sport activities.

Community involvement is crucial for the development and implementation of sport and recreation within Aboriginal communities. The Department helps people with the knowledge and skills to create new sport and recreation initiatives through the Aboriginal Sports Development Program.

Programs and initiatives include;

  • Southern Wheatbelt Inclusion Project
  • Northbridge Youth Diversion Program
  • Nicky Winmar Carnival
  • Aboriginal Grassroots Netball Program
  • Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan Aboriginal Corporation.

The Department receives funding from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Australian Sports Commission to help achieve the goal of greater participation levels across the State.


Manager, Community Participation
Department of Sport and Recreation
Telephone 08 9492 9700

Useful Websites


1 February 2015


1 February 2016