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* It is intended the use of the generic term sport extends to include recreation organisations

Policy rationale

  • Sport organisations, at all levels, should strive to continually improve their governance performance.
  • Policy alignment of key objectives and purposes is essential within sports, for example National Sporting Organisations (NSO) and State Sporting Associations (SSA). There will however be different emphasis on agreed objectives.
  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ governance model for sport organisations. Each sport must evolve a ‘fit for purpose’ model. Greater focus is required on aligned behaviours in sports, rather than on structure.
  • The state return on investment through sport includes participation, achievement and social capital.
  • The state will respect and preserve the ‘sovereignty of sports’, for example community based, not-for-profit sport and recreation service providers to determine their own governance arrangements.
  • The focus of the state’s investment in sport and recreation is to derive domestic benefits through the participation and achievement of Western Australians. 

Expectations for National Sporting Organisations and State Sporting Associations

All Australian governments signed off on the National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework in 2011. This policy framework prescribed generic policy roles for national and state sport organisations.

There has been no discussion triggered by a State, territory or the federal government that these need amendment or revision.

National Organisations

  • National leadership including: development of national plans (including whole of sport plans for sporting organisations); alignment of their state and territory organisations and clubs; advocacy; capacity and capability building; commercial opportunities; governance; events; and workforce (including coaching and officiating) development.
  • Building and sustaining international affiliation and linkages.
  • Collaborating with governments on policy formulation and coordination.
  • Developing and coordinating participation and national high performance programs (includes talented development and identification) (sport only).
  • Coordinating and managing national competitions (sport only).
  • Developing and coordinating national training pathways and international collaborations, to enable recognition of sport and recreation leader training.
  • Collection, collation and provision of statistical data on their sport or active recreation.
  • Contribute to whole of Government planning for healthy communities and sport and recreation pathways.

State Organisations

In collaboration, alignment and partnership with their national sport and active recreation organisation.

  • State leadership of the sport and active recreation sector including state and regional facility planning, development of state plans, advocacy, capacity and capability building, commercial opportunities, governance, events and workforce (including coaching and officiating) development.
  • Collaborating with state and territory governments on policy formulation and coordination.
  • Development and coordination of game/ activity development/initiatives.
  • Coordinating state level high performance programs (includes talent development identification).
  • Partnering state and territory government in infrastructure provision, use of open space, delivery and management (in some instances).
  • Partnering service providers to improve participation outcomes to targeted populations (for example, people with a disability, Aboriginal, rural/remote, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse).
  • Development of state based delivery mechanisms for national programs and initiatives.
  • Assisting regions and clubs in the provision of membership services and the delivery of sport and active recreation.
  • Promote the health and wellbeing benefits of sport and active recreation participation.

Characteristics for considering investment in State Sporting Associations 

The state’s investment level in sports will be premised on the following characteristics being evident in SSA operations:

  • Leadership capability is drawn locally.
  • Decision-making responsibility, with accompanying accountability, is devolved.
  • NSOs and SSAs have worked collaboratively to develop current strategic plans, albeit emphasis on objectives will vary at the different levels.
  • Opportunities and advancement are available in the sport for key roles (for example pathways for board members, executives, coaches, officials).
  • Required revenues* are sourced and predominantly expended for domestic benefit.
  • Ownership of assets and intellectual property is retained.
  • Relevant accountability frameworks are met.
  • Continuous improvement in business services (for example communications, financial management, membership services, IT etc. is demonstrated) occurs.
  • Meaningful input to national strategy and business model development occurs.
  • Partnership relationships with state government and local governments support delivery of the sport.
  • The Western Australian economy (for example employment and investment) is supported and vibrancy added to our community.
  • NSO support is forthcoming to build capacity to their Western Australian SSA in Western Australia.

*Note SSAs should derive fair and reasonable financial support from NSO commercial arrangements, including national sponsorship. This is especially applicable where such arrangements source Western Australian talent, intellectual property and content within their business models.

Scope of state government funding

The primary support to SSAs is through the three sport and recreation portfolio entities; Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Western Australian Institute of Sport and VenuesWest. There are several other departments of state and/or statutory authorities (Lotterywest, WA Tourism Commission and Healthway) that also support SSAs directly and indirectly.

The nature of investment by the state government into sport includes grant funding support for a comprehensive range of state-wide program initiatives. It also includes capital funding support for state, regional and local sporting facilities, either directly or in partnership with local governments.

The state government will include all current funding in deliberations of ongoing support to SSAs and NSOs.


Senior Policy Officer
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Sport and Recreation
Telephone 61 8 6552 7300


22 May 2016 by the Minister for Sport and Recreation

Page reviewed 11 September 2023