Cricket has evolved in Western Australia with a structure where there is no one cricket body to which the various cricket associations are answerable. Public perception wrongly presumes the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) to be the State Sporting Association responsible for the sport overall while the sport works towards the WACA becoming the peak body for the sport in Western Australia.
The Cricket Australia affiliate for Western Australia is the WACA. It schedules cricket fixtures for a
range of competition levels, is host for international and national level cricket matches and also undertakes cricket development programs using a metropolitan and statewide regional officer program.
Organisational charts in the report illustrate each cricket association acts independently of each
other. They schedule and implement annual cricket competitions and operate with separate groups of volunteers. In recent times structural and operational changes within the WACA have paved the way for improved coordination and communication with the WACA and across these various associations.
The WACA and the separate cricket associations responsibilities have not extended to contributing to facility development.
This plan is a result of efforts by the Department of Sport and Recreation to develop a planned and systematic approach for the provision of sports facilities in the Perth metropolitan region. Local government authorities support this endeavour. As a consequence, this study on cricket facilities is one of a number of similar studies which are to be undertaken for other sports.
A clear focus for all stakeholders when planning for cricket facility provision should be on the needs of the player. This will be more easily achieved through recognition and use of the 'facilities planning triangle' outlined in section 2.3 under WA Cricket Philosophy.
In a statistical sense, the 30 Perth metropolitan region local government authorities currently provide 278 grounds for the conduct of cricket. This figure does not include wickets located at primary schools or private schools. Further, local government authorities report that 37 change rooms/toilets, 30 social amenities and three toilets require upgrading. A requirement to construct eight change rooms/toilets and four social amenities was also reported.
Club and facility sustainability are seen as two inter-related factors. Cricket administrators have recognised the following factors as contributing to club and facility sustainability:
- Planning framework
- Community engagement
- Extended community benefit
- Financial viability
- Usage patterns.
The State Government, local government authorities, the WACA and related cricket associations need to aim for the provision of a network of cricket facilities across the Perth metropolitan region.
The network of facilities can comprise a mixture of provision from the following areas:
- Local government authorities
- State and private schools
- Tertiary education institutions
- WACA ground.
The existence of a network of cricket facilities is more easily achieved through partnerships with a variety of other agencies.
From a strategic perspective, a preferred level of cricket facility provision should desirably be based on:
- The geographic spread of facilities across the Perth metropolitan region. As a general rule of thumb, Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of selected cricket club memberships, shows a dense catchment area in a five kilometre radius around the facility, followed by a broad scatter across surrounding local government areas.
- The level of cricket facility provision, considering population growth across regional groupings of councils and individual local government authorities, especially where they are projected to experience particular suburb growth pressures.
- The accessibility of cricket facilities across the Perth metropolitan region including opportunities for collocation and joint provision.
- A classification of different facility scale and provision to satisfy the needs of different cricket player markets.
- The existing and projected level of supply and demand.
- Public transport availability.
A hierarchy of cricket facilities has been developed that will allow for cricket and local government authority planners to provide for facilities required for casual neighbourhood cricket to interstate competition.
Most local government authorities will be requested for additional cricket facilities over the next ten years if the cricket playing target market penetration rate sought by the WACA is achieved.
Local authorities are also facing pressures for approvals to permit alternative use of land as residential densities increase and urban development continues. There is a need to safeguard access to and prevent loss of existing sport, recreation and amenity space and facilities. This particularly applies to field sports such as cricket since large areas of flat playing fields are attractive for alternative development proposals.
This plan includes a recommendation that the WACA consider the introduction of club synthetic wicket replacement subsidy for over a 10 year period.
Local Governments will need to examine strategies that include reactivating unused or developing new cricket fields and cricket authorities change fixturing and scheduling practices to meet these pressures.
A statutory requirement ensuring the availability of open space for the construction of sports fields is critical for the successful continuance of cricket as a sport, especially in new residential areas.
Policies developed as a result of undertaking this report are designed to allow stakeholders in Cricket to work towards provision of good quality accessible facilities appropriate to meet the various needs of the 'cricket family' through the implementation of the following overall policy objectives:
- Increase the quality and capacity of existing cricket facilities to meet the needs and aspirations of the various cricket associations and clubs.
- Maintain and increase the current quality of cricket facility provision to meet the identified needs of local clubs.
- Improve accessibility to existing cricket facilities for cricket clubs and other community groups.
- Increase the demand for cricket facilities through encouraging participation through cricket development initiatives.
- Improve the health of Western Australians by providing high quality opportunities to participate in cricket using safe competition and training facilities.
- Support the development of local cricket clubs to meet their facility and customer focus responsibilities in the Perth metropolitan region.
Policies covering criteria for developing new facilities, cricket club collocation with other sports or activities, facility decommissioning and grants funding decision making are detailed with the observation that a close working relationship with Local Government Authorities will be required for their successful implementation.
As a sport cricket is competing against other State Sport Associations for the person who may be the serious cricketer or recreational cricket player. Central to that objective is the availability of appropriately located cricket clubs with facilities that are sustainable in the long term.
Effective leadership is critical to making this happen and will require a more proactive approach to facilities planning by the WACA and related cricket associations than has previously been the case. The nature of open space development and the role of local government authorities in facilities development mean the majority of cricket clubs will operate club facilities on land with a licence or lease.
A series of maps with senior and junior cricket club ground locations occur in this section to illustrate the extent of cricket participation coverage currently provided in the Perth metropolitan region. No cricket facility duplication was reported by either local government authorities or cricket administrators to the study.
A proposed implementation plan required for the Cricket Facilities Strategic Plan is provided and details the desirable roles and responsibilities of the State Government, local government authorities, the WACA and related associations and clubs, to achieve success.
The strategic plan outlines two fundamental strategies to ensure cricket facilities are available to meet game development and competition demand in the long term. They are:
- Ongoing communication and advising outer metropolitan local government authorities of the projected ground requirements for the next 10 years to assist with their town planning responsibilities.
- Ongoing communication and negotiation with the more established inner local government authorities where cricket development initiatives result in a demand for more grounds through an increase in team numbers.