This week, Infrastructure WA tabled its final State Infrastructure Strategy in Parliament.
SportWest provided a response to the draft report in August last year, when out of 88 recommendations not a single one was specific to sport and recreation.
While the final report does now at least contain two recommendations (see below) to sport and recreation, SportWest does not believe this goes far enough to address the needs of sport and recreation over the next 20 years.
To quote the Chairperson of Infrastructure WA Nicole Lockwood: “[The Strategy] considers the entire state’s infrastructure needs and priorities in the context of our global environment, unique strengths and strategic opportunities. It looks beyond the annual State Budget cycle to ensure public funds spent on infrastructure are targeted and invested as part of a holistic government approach.” If indeed the State Infrastructure Strategy is the guiding document for future planning and investment, sport and recreation facilities will go backwards.
Western Australia needs a Community Sport Facilities Plan. While the Infrastructure WA strategy recommends developing and publishing a 10+ year regional-level sporting facilities plan it stops short on including the metropolitan area. With urban density increasing, smaller block sizes and decreasing backyard space, community access to facilities in metropolitan Perth is only going to increase. Throw into the mix the increase in women’s sport participation leading to a requirement to develop and redevelop sporting facilities, in particular changerooms, the fact the strategy fails to identify this as an issue is a massive oversight.
SportWest calls on the State Government to strongly review this report and make changes prior to its implementation to address the needs of sport and recreation because currently sport and recreation have been largely left out in the cold.
The strategy should include at a minimum:
- Include the development of a Statewide Community Sport Facilities Plan;
- Recognition that CSRFF funding needs to increase to support community needs;
- Commitment to the removal of the financial burden on community sporting clubs to commit one third of project costs in the CSRFF program; and
- A strategy to unlock access to Department of Education sporting facilities for community sport use.
The need to develop and redevelop facilities for community sport is going to be a major part of SportWest’s advocacy program over the coming years and we look forward to publishing our policy positions on behalf of the WA Sport Industry in the near future.
Infrastructure WA – Foundations for A Stronger Tomorrow – State Infrastructure Strategy
Recommendation 87: Ensure equitable access to regional level sporting infrastructure and inform investment priorities in the Perth and Peel regions and major regional centres
Recommendation 88: Optimise use, improve accessibility and ensure facilities are fit for purpose by increasing investment in existing and new arts, culture, sport and recreation infrastructure, including: E. delivering priority capital works proposed in the State Sporting Infrastructure Plan, subject to business cases.