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Australian Sport Policy

Prepared by: Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Updated by: Michael Roeger, Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by: Australasian Sport Information Network
Last updated: 04 March 2021
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer

Australian governments develop public policy to communicate and deliver on strategic intentions. It guides decisions and government investment including support and financial assistance provided to individuals, organisations, and other community groups.

Australian sport policy reflects the value and importance our society places upon sport. It will often be leveraged by—or integrated with—objectives beyond the sport sector including preventative health and well-being; community and urban development; tourism and trade; and, international relations.

Key messages


The National Sports Plan highlights the significant financial contribution that the Australian Federal Government invests to support sport and recreation activities and facilities.


Australian governments at all levels leverage the benefits of sport for the wider community. Federal and all State and Territory Governments in Australia, maintain ministerial level representation for sport and recreation.

Sector Focus

Sporting organisations need to understand the current and historical context of public sport policy to better align and connect their program and funding initiatives to governments' objectives and investment priorities.

Roles and responsibilities of Australian governments

Australia has three levels of government - the Australian Government (also referred to as the Commonwealth or Federal Government), State and Territory Governments, and Local Governments (also known as municipal or local councils). More information about the broad roles and responsibilities of these different governments is available from the How Government Works website.

For sport, the Commonwealth, State, and Territory governments work independently and through coordinated approaches to develop and implement sport related policies and programs targeting all or part of the Australian sporting pathway from grassroots to elite level sport.

Local governments play an important role in developing and maintaining sport and recreation infrastructure, and provide a range of services essential to making sport accessible to all Australians.

Non-government organisations, such as national and state sporting bodies and their affiliated clubs, work closely with various government agencies to initiate and/or implement sport related programs and services.

A detailed description of the various segments of the Australian sport sector is provided in the Clearinghouse Structure of Australian Sport topic.

State and territory governments/ international practice

State and Territory Government
Develop and implement policies and programs with a focus on community sport, active recreation, and athlete pathways.

International practice
International strategies, programs, reports and research relating to sport policy.

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