Ensuring Equitable Access To Sports Facilities

A policy aimed at ensuring gender-equitable access to community sports facilities and infrastructure in the City of Whittlesea was endorsed at the Council meeting on Tuesday 18 June.

The Fair Access Policy has been developed in response to the Victorian Government’s Fair Access in Sport Policy Roadmap which requires all councils to endorse a policy by 1 July 2024.

The policy addresses barriers faced by people identifying as women, girls, and gender-diverse in accessing and using community sports and recreation facilities. The policy was endorsed following an online community survey, consultations with key stakeholders, including sporting clubs, and the City of Whittlesea Youth Council.

Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson emphasised how important the policy is for providing equal access to Council’s facilities for everyone.

“Sport is a vital part of our culture and identity, offering physical and mental health benefits, and fostering a sense of belonging and community connection. This policy aims to enhance the experiences of women, girls, and underrepresented groups in local sports and create fair, inclusive, and safe spaces for all.”

“The invaluable feedback received from the community, stakeholders and the Youth Council, is crucial in shaping how Council will work with local sports clubs to create a plan for implementing the policy. This includes offering education and training on how to put the policy into action.”

City of Whittlesea Youth Council Mayor Zachary Melvaine welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback and the importance of the policy.

“The Youth Council was pleased to provide feedback and align with the vision and aim of this policy. We believe it will significantly impact our young people in local sports, fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment.” Zachary said

The Fair Access Policy outlines the steps needed to achieve fair access and use of community sports facilities. It sets the expectation that gender equality will be prioritised in all current and future Council planning, policies, services, and practices related to community sports. Sports clubs are required to participate in gender equity audits, complete education modules and create action plans to increase the involvement of women and girls as players, coaches, and committee members. Council will provide training on equity, safe environments, and action planning.

To view the Fair Access Policy, visit engage.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/fair-access.

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