Sport in Rural and Regional Australia

Sport in Rural and Regional Australia   
Prepared by  Prepared by: Greg Blood, AIS Emeritus Researcher
evaluated by  Evaluation by:  Dr Russell Hoye, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development) & Director La Trobe Sport, La Trobe University (April 2016) 
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: July 2017
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Community Sport Coaching
Alamy, AXEW29


Sport plays an important role in rural, regional, and remote Australia. It can bring regional communities together; contribute positively to community identity and sense of place; promote social interaction and community inclusion; and play an important role in providing opportunities for physical activity and improved health outcomes. Additionally, rural and regional Australian centres are increasingly hosting sporting events that provide economic stimulus and instil a sense of community pride. 

Traditionally, these communities have also developed many of Australia's elite athletes due to their unique cultural characteristics and physical environments among other attributes.

Governments at all levels, sporting organisations, and individuals can benefit from understanding the unique role that sport can have in these communities in order to better develop opportunities and achieve future goals. 

Key Messages 


Sports participation in rural, remote, and regional Australian communities has been shown to improve social cohesion and population health outcomes.


Bidding for, and hosting, significant sporting events—individually or as part of a consortium of centres—is increasingly a strategy being used by regional councils to gain an economic stimulus and to raise the public profile of their communities.


Some regional centres have produced a disproportionately high number of Australia’s most successful elite athletes.


Many regional centres have access to government and community sponsored programs to support emerging elite athletes and investment in sports infrastructure.

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