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Participation Grants and Funding for Sport and Recreation

Australian governments invest in the sport and active recreation sector by leveraging a range of inter-related public policy themes including: community participation, infrastructure, major events, and building a robust sports industry.

This financial assistance is delivered in a number of ways including the provision of grants and other concessions to organisations, community groups, and individuals. This topic primarily focuses on the financial assistance provided by federal, state and territory governments in Australia.

Key messages


Australian governments (federal, state and local) invest over AU$1.3b annually in the sport and active recreation sector.


Increasing community participation in physical activity, including sport and active recreation, is seen as a key target in helping to achieve public health and social policy objectives at national, state, and local levels.


Organisations, community groups and individuals can apply to access a broad range of funding programs and other concessions from government and non-government sources.


‘Sport participation’ is generally defined as active involvement as a participant, but may also include involvement in a supporting role, such as a coach, official, administrator, or volunteer. In this topic ‘sport participation’ refers to physical activity organised by a sporting organisation for the primary purpose of enjoyment, skill development, personal health and social benefit. Competition outcomes may also be included, but they are secondary and this outcome is more important when discussing high performance sport programs and the way they are funded.

For more information please refer to the  Participation in Sport and What is Sport? topics.


The information provided in this topic primarily targets organisations recognised by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and state and territory departments of sport and recreation. This includes National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), their affiliated State Sporting Organisations (SSOs), and local sporting clubs representing each sport. The Australian Sports Directory provides a list of organisations recognised by the ASC.

There are many other organisations delivering sport and active recreation programs outside of the network recognised by the ASC. This summary does not attempt to estimate the contribution made by local government authorities. Clubs delivering sport at the local level may receive substantial support from local government in the form of grants, facility access, and concessions.

Similarly, this summary does not include the contribution made by schools and tertiary education institutions to the delivery of sport and active recreation programs. 'High performance' sport funding, such as scholarship sources for athletes, coaches and officials are also generally not included.

The final limitation to this information gathering is the amount of detail provided about government funding sources (in part or full) that comes from departments/agencies outside of the sport and recreation domain. Many government funded programs target specific initiatives, facilities, health promotions, social inclusion programs, tourism, and events that can impact upon the sport and active recreation sector.

National grants and funding

Department of Health
The Australian Government is committed to supporting sport in Australia from grass roots to elite.

Australian Sports Commission
The ASC primarily funds and supports NSOs to coordinate and deliver sport participation and development programs.

Australian Sports Foundation (ASF)
The ASF has been helping athletes, sporting clubs and organisations fundraise for more than 30 years.

Sporting Organisations
A number of national and state sporting organisations provide community sporting clubs with a range of grants.

State and territory grants and funding

Further resources and reading

Related Topics

Reviewed by: Australasian Sport Information Network
Last updated: 06 May 2021
Content disclaimer: See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer


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