Netball WA Strategic Facilities Plan

The Basketball and Netball Strategic Facility Plan provides an indication of the likely growth patterns of both sports from a community development and Association perspective. The intention is to:

  1. Identify future facility requirements for both sports within Western Australia for the next 15 years and a process for prioritising and securing potential investment to deliver the plan.
  2. Establish the framework within which the State Sporting Association (SSA) of Netball WA can provide support and guidance to its affiliated associations (“associations”) and local government. 

The plan will assist Netball WA in the decision making at association level to accommodate future growth and manage participation in areas of decline. It will also provide direction for recreational and association use of local government facilities where the allocation of space is often limited due to competition from other sports / activities.

Additionally it will provide direction for the organisations, clubs, local government and other potential partners in planning for future facilities. This summary provides an overview of the key components relative to Netball WA.

The approach to netball association strategic facility development

The Strategic Facilities Plan has been developed taking into account the following:

  1. To establish an approach to facility development appropriate to the ongoing evolution of the competition and development structure under Netball WA and its associations. Whilst these facilities may be multi-functional in use, the facilities provide priority access for netball at the times they desire. The continued enhancement to court infrastructure at these facilities is critical to the growth of the sport.
  2. To establish an approach which is appropriate to the development of multi-functional sporting facilities where netball is one of a number of sporting activities which have to negotiate use of the court infrastructure on an equal basis with other sports.

WA netball participation rates and structure – overview

The following highlights the key aspects which are influential in the sports growth in Western Australia:

  • In 2011 the estimated population in WA was 2.3m persons and this number is forecast to increase to 3.0M persons by 2026 with the majority of this growth to be accommodated in the Metropolitan, Peel and South West regions.
  • Netball is ranked second in organised sports for females between the ages of 5-14 (17% participation rate).
  • The estimated total number of adult persons participating in netball in WA is approximately 78,000.
  • There are eleven netball regions in WA and 73 associations within these regions.
  • Netball in WA is traditionally a winter sport and played outdoors for 20 weeks of the year with the majority of games played on a Saturday.
  • The competition structure is generally facilitated by the associations of Netball WA.
  • The associations have varying control over their facilities. Depending on the level of control exercised by each association, this invariably impacts on the extent of developmental programs which can be facilitated (i.e. greater control by each association generally results in a greater capacity to develop these programs).
  • Many local governments will operate their own casual play for netball. This will not be recognised by Netball WA within their recorded participation figures. Often, casual play facilitated by local governments will attract participation away from associations by those people who wish to participate outside of a formal league structure.
  • Whilst opportunities for casual play are facilitated by local governments in addition to the associations, the level of accessibility at each facility will differ significantly. Indoor court space particularly will be limited in community facilities managed/controlled by local government whose core focus will be to provide a breadth of recreational activity to their ratepayers and not to facilitate the explicit needs of an individual sport.
  • The likely future growth netball will need to maintain extensive single location outdoor court facilities with future growth being a mixture of indoor and outdoor provision in growth areas and where resources permit.

Facility audit

Following a review of the number of courts by planning region, an assessment on the level of court provision with the forecast number of netball courts required for each region for 2011 was undertaken. A sensitivity analysis on key participation assumptions was conducted in an attempt to indicate a reasonable range of results of court provision for recreational netball use. The analysis incorporated:

  • The existing and projected population profiles.
  • An assessment of low (3.6%) and high (4.1%) participation rates based on the latest known WA participation rates calculated through the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS).
  • A nominal number of participants per team (indicatively 8 for netball).
  • An assumed hourly court usage for competition (45 mins weekly per team) and an assumed hourly court usage for training (30 mins weekly per team).
  • An assessment was also undertaken on the access to a facility based on population numbers likely to generate a viable use of a facility.
  • Likely operational hours (varying from intensive use in metropolitan Perth to less intensive in more remote regional areas).

The assessment found that based purely on population growth, sports participation and traditional space factors, the existing level of provision of netball courts for current recreational purposes is meeting or exceeding demand in all the regions. This however does not take into account the extent of court space on one site, accessibility at times desired by the sports and the capability of the infrastructure to meet the ongoing needs of the sport (i.e. the multi-functional nature of infrastructure or lack of court space available in one particular location which enables the volunteer base of the sport to adequately facilitate optimum competition structures).

The conclusion reached is that whilst in numerical terms the provision of netball court infrastructure for the most part meets or exceeds demand, the actual quality and level of provision falls below a standard which is necessary to facilitate effective growth in the sport. The focus therefore on the provision of netball facilities should be on enhancing the quality, capacity and accessibility of court space wherever possible to facilitate greater participation.

Facility classification and hierarchy

To assist in planning for the population growth and likely increase in demand for netball facilities a facility classification and hierarchy was developed:

  • District: Local government operated facilities that conduct netball competitions with the format of predominantly casual pay and play.
  • Regional: Can also be used as a district facility. These facilities are those at which current netball affiliated competitions are played and are generally operated/owned by an association.
  • State level: The WA Basketball Centre, State Netball Centre, Challenge (HBF) Stadium and Perth Arena.

This hierarchical classification was adopted to clarify potential facility and investment requirements for the next 15 years in accordance with likely growth patterns of the sport.

The following facility classifications were not included:

  • Local facilities: a full/half court with net and or backboard with ring that are developed in parks.
  • International facilities: facilities at which international matches are played and may not be dedicated netball venues.

Based on this facility classification and hierarchy, the results of the facility audit were then classified and mapped. A review of the facility distribution found the following:

  • Four state level netball facilities are provided in the metropolitan region.
  • There are 9 netball regional level facilities in the metropolitan region and 11 in regional WA. There are no regional level facilities provided in the Gascoyne and Kimberley regions.
  • The number of district level facilities in each region ranges between two (Gascoyne) and 50 (metropolitan Perth). The level of provision for each region is reflective of the popularity of netball, the demographic profile and historical level of provision in the region.

Stakeholder consultation and facility planning in growth areas

A range of consultation processes was employed including workshops, meetings, interviews and a survey audit. Consultation included Netball WA and relevant associations, state and local government.

With significant population growth forecast for the Metropolitan, Peel and South West Regions, the facility planning for these regions was a key focus of the study. Within the Metropolitan Region significant population growth is forecast for the Armadale, Canning, Cockburn, Gosnells, Joondalup, Perth, Rockingham, Stirling, Swan and Wanneroo local government areas. The Metropolitan Region is also a priority development region for Netball WA.

Netball WA’s priority development areas within the Metropolitan Region are their Coastal region (which includes the Cities of Fremantle, Cockburn and Rockingham), northern metropolitan corridor (Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo), Urban Growth Corridor (City of Swan) and south of the river in the Perth Metropolitan region.

Planned developments at councils where the population is forecast to increase significantly and which are priority areas identified through the consultation process and with Netball WA include:

  • City of Armadale has commenced planning for a Regional Recreation Facility at Wungung. The proposed facility could potentially include some hard courts with construction commencing in 2019.
  • The City of Canning’s Burrendah Precinct Master Plan recommends the expansion of the basketball facility at Willetton. It is proposed the expanded facility will accommodate netball, with the final court numbers yet to be determined. A business case and feasibility study outcome is awaited.
  • City of City of Cockburn are currently constructing a regional aquatic and recreation centre with up to an additional six courts which will be used for basketball and netball.
  • Warwick Leisure Centre has approached City of Joondalup regarding adding an additional 4 courts to the facility.
  • The Shire of Kalamunda is preparing a master plan for the Ray Owen Centre and in consultation with the basketball and netball clubs have indicated they would consider providing an additional two courts.
  • City of Rockingham is considering developing an indoor sports complex.
  • City of Swan looking to develop a 6 or 7 court indoor facility and 12-16 outdoor courts catering for a new association facility within the next ten years (provisionally identified at Whiteman).
  • City of Wanneroo’s Northern Coastal Corridor Community Facility Plan estimates that that by 2026 they will require one district level indoor sport and recreation centre (1 – 2 indoor courts) and one district level outdoor hard court facility (6 – 10 courts).
  • South East Regional Recreation Advisory Group’s Regional Sport and Recreation Facilities Strategy recommend a feasibility study to be undertaken for a community based leisure facility in the City of Gosnells / Armadale.

Planned developments within the Peel region councils where the population is forecast to increase significantly include:

  • The South East Peel Region Structure Plan identifies a regional open playing space (Fiegerts Road) that may be suitable to incorporate both indoor and outdoor court sports facilities.
  • The City of Mandurah is proposing to add an additional three courts to the existing four courts at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre. To include a show court that can be utilised by netball.
  • Within the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale the Community Facility Plan 2020 recommends that Council work with the Education Department to establish community accessible hard-courts at schools.
  • DSR is working with netball to grow the sport in the region and believe the existing 10 court netball facility in Mandurah will be inadequate to cater for the proposed growth in the region. In the short term (next 1 – 2 years) there is a proposal to add an additional two courts to the Thompson Street netball facility. Any further expansion of the site will be significantly constrained.

Planned developments at South West region councils where the population is forecast to increase significantly include:

  • The Shire of Dardanup has conceptual plans for an extension to Eaton Recreation Centre, which is planned for 2019/20.
  • The City of Bunbury has completed a master plan for the South West Sport Centre (SWSC) that includes an additional three courts and current planning is for the works to commence within the next five years.
  • Possible extension to the Geographe Leisure Centre (City of Busselton).
  • The Shire of Manjimup –possible upgrade/redevelopment of their indoor centre.
  • The Shire of Augusta-Margaret River has recently completed a review of the master plan for the Margaret River Recreation Centre and believes more courts may be required in 3 – 5 years.

Demand assessment – Netball

An assessment of demand for each of the DSR planning regions in five-year increments for the periods 2016,2021 and 2026 was undertaken. The assessment of demand was based on the consultation undertaken, the demographics and settlement types of the forecast population growth, a review of the basketball and netball registrations, participation and industry trends and the audit undertaken.

Forecast court demand to 2016

The outcomes of the court demand assessment for netball facilities to 2016 were that the existing level of provision of netball courts is meeting or exceeding demand in all regions except for the Peel Region based on broad community use under assessed population parameters.

There are some plans in place to address this forecast shortfall in netball courts in the Peel Region by 2016 through the addition of two courts to the Thompson Street (Mandurah) netball facility.

At a regional facility level one netball facility exist in the Peel Region which may not be sufficient to cater for the forecast increase in netball demand. However the proposed development of a show court at the Mandurah Aquatic Centre that caters for netball should address this issue.

The additional courts required for netball should be provided at a district facility level (assuming the proposed development of the indoor courts at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre proceed).

Forecast court demand to 2021

The outcomes of the netball court demand assessment for 2021 was the existing level of provision of netball courts is meeting or exceeding demand in all but two regions based on broad community use under assessed population parameters. There is potential for an under provision of netball courts in the Peel and South West Regions by 2021.

Assuming the current facility development plans for Eaton Recreation Centre and SWSC transpire there should therefore be adequate provision for courts within the Greater Bunbury and Wellington Region.

At a regional facility level there two netball facilities and at a district facility level there are 21 netball facilities. This level of facility provision should be sufficient to cater for the forecast population increase and settlement types.

Forecast court demand to 2026

The outcomes of the court demand assessment for netball facilities to 2026 was that the existing level of provision of netball courts is meeting or exceeding demand in all but three regions based on broad community use under assessed population parameters. There is potential for an under provision of netball courts in the Mid West, Peel and South West Regions by 2026.

There are some plans in place to address the forecast shortfall in netball courts in the Mid West Region through the City of Greater Geraldton’s facility development plans at Eighth Street which, if they transpire, will provide adequate provision for netball courts.

At a regional facility level there are two netball facilities. At a district facility level there are four netball facilities. This level of facility provision should be sufficient to cater for the future needs.

Industry trends and policy review – the demand for dedicated netball facilities

The population forecast demand caters for multi-functional recreation centres. Arising from the review of industry trends it is considered the following implications are relevant for the strategic plan:

  • With the majority of indoor and outdoor facilities designed to be multipurpose and cater for a large cross section of the community it would be beneficial for Basketball WA and Netball WA to jointly advocate for facility expansion / developments that are a strategic priority for both sports.
  • As the facility owner the majority of local governments will be reticent to provide exclusive access for one user group. The netball use will be limited to the availability of court space.
  • In facilities where netball is in control of the use and management of the infrastructure, it is inevitable that future growth will be focussed on the sports needs with ancillary partners incorporated to enhance the business case. In such circumstances it is important to ensure associations have the ability and capability to develop and deliver facility infrastructure projects. This will require guidance and support from Netball WA to their associations.
  • Netball WA and their associations / clubs can jointly advocate for increased use of facilities by highlighting they are also part of the community and provide a broad range of community outcomes (i.e. health and wellbeing benefits, diversionary activities, participation amongst hard to reach groups etc.).
  • Netball WA should advocate for the increase in facility funding programs to account for the increases in facility development costs associated with environmentally sustainable design outcomes / climate change.
  • Inner city clubs / associations may need to review and reconsider their traditional zones particularly if they don’t currently have a home and the demography of their zone adversely changes.

A core area of work was identified which falls within the remit of Netball WA in providing strategic support to associations and local government in order that future facility development can be individually justified.

Strategic facility development advice

To realise the plan there are a number of aspects which need to be developed jointly by both Netball WA and Basketball WA. This essentially relates to the evolution of work both associations have been undertaking in supporting the ongoing development of facility infrastructure and ensuring that the relevant associations are in the best position to make the case for investment in facilities. A critical component of this is the development of a business case, feasibility study, needs analysis and ultimately the ability to attract, receive and manage funding. A process of developing a ‘fit for purpose’ framework under which each association exists will be a significant catalyst for future investment in the sport. This can be split into the following key facilitation roles:

  • Providing up to date and relevant participation trends for both affiliated members and recreational basketball and netball use.
  • Promote the importance of basketball and netball and the positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the community.
  • Encouraging Associations and Clubs to develop their long term facilities’ business plans. This should be based on existing DSR guidance notes.
  • In partnership with DSR provide advice and guidance on maintenance and whole of life costs which must be considered to avoid inadequate financial planning.
  • Identification of grant funding opportunities (either through the development of the SSAs own funding program; through state and federal government or alternative funding models).
  • Engaging with all levels of government to advocate access, funding, ownership, maintenance and
    development issues, needs and opportunities based on the recommendations contained within the facilities plan and ongoing development of the sport.
  • Identify opportunities to partner with complimentary sports to support the business case for investment in facilities.

This will require investment by Netball WA and Basketball WA in facility development advice either through outsourcing advisory work or through establishing an internal club and association facility advisor which may be shared between the two SSAs.

Recommendations and implementation plan:  Netball

The implentation plan on page (vi) of the Executive Summary in the attached report identifies a number of strategic priorities for the development of netball facilities across WA. The priorities are separated into short (1 – 3 years), medium (4 – 9 years) and long term (10 – 15 years) recommendations and may be jointly owned by both Netball WA and Basketball WA.

The first section relates to generic policy intervention and is subsequently followed by recommendations related to regional and metropolitan areas. Where specific facilities are referenced, the recommendations relate to known development opportunities or issues which need to be resolved. It is recommended that the implementation plan is reviewed and updated annually to take into account changing circumstances and potential funding opportunities which may emerge.