Fair Access Policy to help provide better access to sport


Fair Access Policy to help provide better access to sport and recreation for all

Surf Coast Shire Council adopted the Fair Access Policy at last night’s Council meeting. The Fair Access Policy seeks to address barriers experienced by women and girls in accessing and using community sport and recreational facilities.

From 1 July 2024 all Victorian councils must develop and endorse a Fair Access Policy using the Fair Access Policy Roadmap to be eligible to receive infrastructure funding from the Victorian Government.

Council sought community input into the draft Fair Access Policy and Action Plan in April and May. The feedback was overall support with 95% of respondents supporting or strongly supporting the Draft Fair Access Policy and Action Plan. A strong response was received from ‘lower participation’ sports for whom scheduling for equal access remains a concern.

Some of the changes to the policy from the community feedback include:

  • A more holistic review of how our community sports infrastructure can be allocated more equally to all sports, in addition to the increased focus on women and girls.
  • Changed policy purpose from “ensuring community sporting environments are welcoming, accessible and inclusive” to “The Policy works towards providing more welcoming, accessible and inclusive community sports infrastructure for women and girls”.
  • Added community halls with recreation use to policy scope.
  • Included the following actions under principle one:
    • Promote responsible serving of alcohol at community sports facilities.
    • Support our sports and community groups in offering more inclusive sports uniforms.
  • While the focus of the first iteration of the policy and plan is on women and girls, the review period has been reduced to two years to potentially include a greater focus on intersecting forms of people’s abilities and identities in a future revision.

“It is great that Council have adopted this policy and we can move on to implementing the action plan now”, said Cr Rose Hodge.

“This policy isn’t just ensuring women and girls have equal opportunities to play whichever sport they want too, it’s also about making sure that all sports, including our smaller sports, have the infrastructure and an opportunity for anyone to participate”, she said.

Council officers will now start implementing the action plan and working with all sporting clubs and user groups to build the capacity and capabilities in the identification and elimination of gender inequality in policy, programs, communications and delivery of services in relation to community sports infrastructure.

/Public Release. View in full here.