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Community sport delivers $10.3 billion in social and economic benefit to WA every year

A social return on investment study commissioned by SportWest has revealed that WA organised sport and its 700,000 participants return $7.10 in economic and social benefit for every dollar of cost each year, totalling a gross benefit of $10.3 billion per annum.

The gross benefit can be broken down to economic & employment $4.85 billion, physical & mental health $3.02 billion and personal wellbeing & broader social benefits $2.39 billion. The mental health benefit delivered by sport alone is $1.8 billion per year.

SportWest Chief Executive Officer Matt Fulton said the study’s findings were a game changer for sport in WA.

“For a long time, WA sport has been recognised as providing a range of economic, health, social and community benefits however, as an industry, we have struggled to quantify and articulate this value,” Mr Fulton said.

“Those involved in sport have known the benefits for many years but now we have a value that we can quantify into dollars and cents. We no longer have to rely on anecdotal stories about how good it is that people in our society, in particular children, love their sport and it makes them smile.

“The importance of this data cannot be understated. It clearly demonstrates with factual information that increasing participation in sport provides a range of benefits to our State.

“Just to list a few, participation in community sport reduces the burden on our health care system, it teaches resilience and builds life skills, improves productivity, reduces the risk of crime, reduces rates of suicide and improves linkages within local communities.”

“What this tells us is when people play sport, the entire population of WA benefits and community sport warrants ongoing and increased support from all levels of government, the business community and community leaders.”

In addition to quantifying the social return on investment, the study has revealed that community sport in WA survives and thrives on some 41.9 million volunteer hours every year, the equivalent of 21,511 full time workers at a social cost of $852 million.

“For these benefits to be maintained and indeed grow, we need to increase access to sporting facilities, increase the sustainability of sporting organisations in the State, and invest in strategies to ensure we attract and retain the best administrators to sport,” Mr Fulton said.

SportWest engaged ACIL Allen to undertake the study of structured sports participation in WA. SROI is an emerging area of economic analysis, centred on the quantification of the benefits and costs of activities which are typically outside of the bounds of typical economic and financial analysis frameworks.

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First Published: Monday, 22 August 2022

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