Participation in physical activity is seen as essential for the overall health and wellbeing of the community. Research presented over the past ten years shows that physical inactivity is a major public health issue throughout the western world, including Australia. The annual direct health care cost to Australia of physical inactivity is more than $350 million a year. It's now clear that physical inactivity has become the second leading contributor, behind tobacco, to the burden of disease in Australia and is the leading contributor among Australian women.
Currently only 55% of Western Australians are sufficiently active to gain a health benefit, with 13% being classified as sedentary.
There are some 474 Australian Rules Football Clubs in Western Australia with over 63,000 players throughout the State. An Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of participation rates in sport and recreational activities found that, over a 12 month period, 4% of Western Australians over the age of 18 participated in Australian Rules Football.
People were much more likely to participate in less formal, individual activities such as walking or swimming. The participation rate for Australian Rules Football was greater than other team sports such as basketball, soccer and netball.
Whilst Australian Rules Football has the highest participation rate of any team sport in Western Australia, there are opportunities to grow the participation rate and keep players actively involved in the sport into their adult years.
The Western Australian Football Commission (WAFC) recognises the need for a review and strategic direction in relation to the provision of football facilities in this State. They see this as a critical area of their business which requires relationship building at both club and local government level.
They also recognise that with the challenge from other sporting codes, particularly at the junior community level, there will be an increasing demand for facilities across the metropolitan area. If football is to gain or maintain quality environments at local clubs then they will need to assess their current practices and how this relates back to local authority planning and facility provision. Recognising the importance of this task the WAFC has created a new director level position and appointed a Director of Facilities and Planning.
The numbers of clubs and individuals participating in active sport is constrained by the availability of suitable open space developed or able to be developed for a range of outdoor sporting activity. In recent times organised sports, including football, have experienced an increase in participation levels and yet in certain localities, especially the outer metropolitan area, the amount of land allocated for use as active playing areas has not been sufficient to meet existing or projected future demand. In other localities, notably in established inner city areas, use of available open space is near capacity and hence football and other sports face constraints on expansion and even meeting current demands for use of grounds.
This Facilities Strategic Plan builds on the findings of the previous reports:
These are used to identify the key issues and the implications of these issues on the sustainable development of football facilities throughout the study area.
The framework for establishing the Facilities Strategic Plan is based on the development of a series of principles that underpin the approach to facilities planning. These build on the concept of creating sustainable football clubs. The Facilities Strategic Plan has a clear vision which is supported by objectives and strategies. These are used as a basis for the development of facilities plans, policies and partnership and communication strategies.
An Implementation Plan has also been developed to support the Facilities Strategic Plan.