Setting a Strategic Direction for the ACT

Our Policy

Our community deserves every opportunity to participate in sport and recreation. We are after all, the most active community in Australia. Being outdoors, playing team sports, meeting up with friends for recreation – as a community we enjoy such a broad range of activities.

FIND YOUR GAME is a coordinated approach to provide more opportunities to increase grassroots participation and grow sport and recreation in the ACT.

The Canberra Liberals recognise that for too long there has been a reactive approach to facilities and funding in the ACT. Investment in facilities has failed to keep pace with population growth and trends for participation, whilst funding is sporadic and not rewarding local clubs or community interests.

This is why we are proposing a long-term plan for the ACT that will support the development of sport and recreation. We believe that investment in infrastructure should be driven by the community need and take a bottom-up approach to better support grassroots activities. At the same time, if these assets are future-focused and built to a high standard, there will be greater opportunities for the ACT to benefit from sports tourism and high-level sporting events.

Long term planning is essential to ensure the right infrastructure and supports are in place so that all Canberrans have access to a range of sport and recreation activities.

FIND YOUR GAME sets a strategic direction for sport and recreation in the ACT, and will guide the development of future initiatives. Driven by overarching objectives, the plan will focus on supporting specific targets to grow sport and recreation in the ACT.

By establishing strategic priorities, we can check at each juncture that the direction of sport and recreation is enabling the community to see the benefits of sport and recreation.

We recognise innovation as a driver for developing new industries and enhancing existing partnerships. This logic also applies to sport and recreation. With the changes to the Australian Institute of Sport, the growth of tertiary and vocational education in health and fitness, as well as emerging eSports that are engaging our youth, we need to be future-focused. The aim of increasing participation must also be a key driver. It is vital that every Canberran is able to realise the benefits of sport and recreation.

Setting a vision for Canberra to be the ‘Amateur Sporting Capital’ will enable sporting codes to build pathways for our youth and emerging athletes. With the right infrastructure, these groups can host a range of events that will not just bring tourism benefits, but also entertainment value on a bigger scale. This extends to building our elite sport offerings so that a broad range of high-performance options are available for athletes and spectators alike.

We know that being active is the best way to improve physical and mental health which in turn reduces the burden on taxpayers; this just makes sense. Another important aspect to unlocking sport and recreation in the ACT is to ensure that we maximise the use and enjoyment of our natural environment. The ACT has so much to offer for sport and recreation, and our community have the appetite and desire to participate more. What is needed is the right plan to make sure you can FIND YOUR GAME, be active and have fun.

Strategic Vision
FIND YOUR GAME is a coordinated approach to provide more opportunities to increase grassroots participation and grow sport and recreation in the ACT.
To make Canberra a sporting destination and the amateur sporting capital of Australia. To grow Canberra as a sports innovation and research hub To ensure everyone can realise the benefits of participation in sport and recreation To make the most of using and enjoying our natural environment
Provide tangible pathways for participation at every level of sport across the ACT. Support new and emerging sports industry businesses to grow in the ACT. Promote increased participation of senior Canberrans in interesting and engaging sport and recreation. Enhance the reputation of the ACT as the Bush Capital of Australia.
Build the necessary infrastructure to attract and retain sport and recreation events in the ACT. Actively encourage partnerships between tertiary and vocational institutions and industry. Promote increased participation of girls and women in sport and recreation throughout all stages of their lives. To showcase the ACT as a place to visit, to play and enjoy the best of our natural environment.
Promote the ACT as a sport and recreation destination both to visit but also to make as a permanent home. Harness the capabilities of elite sport and recreation bodies to contribute to the growth of an ACT sports industry. Promote increased participation of people with a disability in any sport and recreation activity they wish to pursue. To strike the right balance between enjoying the great outdoors, as well as to promote and protect our environment and heritage.
Ensure the ACT works collaboratively with the assets and aspirations of the southern region. Invest in the talents and imagination of our young people to design the future of sports innovation and research. Promote increased participation of children and young people in sport and recreation and to continue through to adulthood. Make the most of open space and green space so that it can be experienced, and visitors can appreciate all the ACT has to offer.
Explore greater linkages with interstate, national and international sport and recreation bodies. Look for ways to bring new and emerging sports to the ACT, both in terms of development but also support products and competitions. Everyone understands the physical and mental health benefits of sport and recreation including the social engagement and sense of belonging to the community. To provide opportunities for people to enjoy the lakes and waterways in and around the ACT.

The Canberra Liberals will develop a long-term Sports Infrastructure Plan to outline investment required to support greater sport and recreation in the ACT. We are mindful of the considerable costs of investment in new infrastructure, and realise that developments must be phased in and informed by a wide range of community priorities.

After decades of poor management, much of the sporting infrastructure in the ACT is depleted and out of date. We simply don’t have the facilities to encourage participation in sport and recreation by our local community. We must embark on a journey of investing in assets so that big ideas and events are offered in the ACT.

There is currently no consistent forward planning or proactive approach to maintaining or growing sport and recreation in the ACT. This has resulted in large gaps in growth areas as well as poorly maintained, aging venues in the established areas.

There are so many sports that are at capacity or have waiting lists due to a lack of facilities. There are some groups who are forced to travel interstate because of the lack of infrastructure.

Many recreation clubs are unable to secure venues or pay the hire charges so that activities remain accessible and affordable. For the future, we must think more critically about how we use and manage our facilities. We need to make the most use of venues, both at peak times and non peak times.

They can offer more than just a sporting venue by providing community meeting rooms, small business hubs, youth services and mental health supports. We can also explore opportunities for the private sector and industry to be involved in their development and management. Facilities should be built in areas to meet current demand, and cater for future growth.

To ensure the long-term viability of these investments, the Sports Infrastructure Plan will fit within the FIND YOUR GAME 2030 Strategic Framework, so that any investment is aligned to the objectives and targets that meet community needs. It’s also important to demonstrate these investments not only make economic sense, but provide health, community and societal benefits too.

The Amateur Sport Capital of Australia

Australians love sport, it is part of our culture and identity.

Over recent years Canberra has attempted to attract more international and elite-level sporting events. This is a worthwhile endeavour that must be expanded to include a greater range of offerings to service not just our community, but the broader region.

Amateur sporting events are big business; they attract competitors, support staff and spectators. Whether these are juniors, veterans or small scale annual events – they all count. They can inject significant revenue into our local economy, provide pathways for local athletes and affordable entertainment for Canberra residents. An array of events and competitions are organised all over Australia and our goal is to attract many more to the ACT.

The Canberra Liberals firmly believe that investing in local sport will lead to more homegrown talent. If we are to have our own A-league, AFL, AFLW or NBL teams, significant support must be provided to increase participation and nurture local talent. Applying this bottom-up approach, we want to flip the investment rationale and provide more support, pathways and incentives to amateur sport.

We are committed to supporting the existing ACT elite sporting teams, and recognise their contributions to the community. Any future investments must have a solid business case, and together with our push for increased amateur events and local participation, elite sport is a major component of our strategic direction.

Sport & Recreational Tourism

The ACT has so much to offer residents and visitors alike.

With our geographical position, natural beauty and cultural institutions, the ACT has real opportunities to grow the sport and recreation tourism sector. Canberra truly is the Bush Capital. We are blessed with multiple national parks, grasslands and nature reserves. In addition to activities like mountain biking, bushwalking and orienteering, we have accessible waterways for a wide variety of recreational pursuits.

We are also placed as a gateway to other attractive areas of the region to explore – bushwalks in the Southern Highlands, water sports on the South Coast, skiing in the Snowy Mountains or exploring the Riverina. These opportunities can be further developed to enhance the sport and recreation tourism sector in the ACT.

Sporting events are also part of this story. Tourists can also be offered a broad range of activities from amateur events to elite entertainment. To achieve this requires a coordinated approach that is informed by industry and community stakeholders. It must look beyond traditional events to attract more niche or creative ways of capturing Canberra’s interest in all things to do with sport and recreation.

The Canberra Liberals will establish a taskforce to work with local businesses, hotels, transport providers, community groups and sporting associations. We want this group to advise Government on investments, help develop bids and build relationships to grow the tourism market for Canberra, and to contribute to sporting and recreational experiences.

ACT WIDE Sporting Precinct ASSET plan

In every region there exists a range of disparate sporting precincts, buildings and facilities.

These include ovals, courts, ranges, tracks, fields, canteens, clubrooms, changerooms, storage and lighting. There are precincts that are lacking some of these conveniences, resulting in some sporting facilities not being fully functional.

Currently there is no overarching plan, no coordinated approach or long-term vision for how these spaces can be used and maximised. For many existing assets, there is an immediate need to upgrade or to complete critical maintenance. In the long-term we also need to examine how to best use precincts so that we have the right mix of local clubs, schools and community groups who are able to make the most of these facilities.

It is also currently unclear what each region or facility requires in terms of investment. We need to ensure that future projects are based on community need and evidence.

Some precincts require investment or upgrades such as female-safe facilities, improved lighting, affordable irrigation, more indoor space and storage, as well as issues with parking and access. We must also ensure that sporting precincts are functional, attractive places that provide positive community enjoyment. We want to replace ad hoc decision making with a coordinated and transparent process of prioritising work, and these works must link to the strategic objectives of FIND YOUR GAME.

The Canberra Liberals will ensure that every major ACT sports facility aligns with an ACT Sporting Precinct Asset Plan. These plans will ensure that all users and stakeholders have a voice and can help provide not just the facilities needed for today, but plan for development and growth in the future.