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The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries considers strong governance principles and practices essential to the viability and sustainability of sport and recreation organisations. Effective governance requires leadership, integrity and good judgment. An organisation’s structure off the field can have a significant impact on what happens on the field.


Good governance practices strengthen the structures that support sport and recreation organisations which create strong leadership, appropriate decision-making and compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. The department works with organisations to ensure continuous improvement and to support the implementation of strong governance and business practices.


The State Government, through the department, provides significant financial resources to a large number of sporting and recreational organisations to support them in achieving their strategic objectives and their service delivery outcomes for the benefit of the Western Australian community.

The department invests in recognised sport and recreation organisations strategic intent and operational plans. Every organisation is benchmarked against best practice in governance and business management, people development, high performance and other specific areas relevant to the organisation.

The department endorses the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Sports Governance Principles encompass the following six key principles based on accountability, contestability and transparency:

  • board composition, roles and powers
  • board processes
  • governance systems
  • board reporting and performance
  • stakeholder relationship and reporting
  • ethical and responsible decision-making.

The ASC has a clearly stated position with respect to the governance of National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) which directly relates to outcomes required under ASC funding. They currently have mandatory principles in place and NSOs will be required to make progress towards compliance.

Leadership and management of sport and recreation organisations should represent Australia’s changing demographics with diversity in age, gender, culture, disability, race, religion and sexuality. Different backgrounds, skills, experience and ideas are widely accepted to promote better governance, leadership and decision-making outcomes. 

Western Australia compares poorly to other states in relation to female representation in leadership roles. This issue presents in corporate settings, across government and is similarly replicated within sport and recreation.

There is clear evidence that shows the benefits for organisations from having a diversity of people and opinions in decision making positions. Firms with the highest representation of women on their boards outperform those with the least (Catalyst, 2014 and McKinsey, 2012).


The department supports sport and recreation organisations to implement good governance principles and practices through continuous consultancy services, benchmarking and evaluation processes and investment into professional development opportunities for boards and high level management. 


Manager, Industry Development
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries — Sport and Recreation
Telephone 61 8 6552 7300


Catalyst 2014 census: women board directors. Catalyst, 2014.

Is there a payoff for top team diversity? McKinsey, 2012.

Useful websites and resources


17 May 2016


1 February 2017

Page reviewed 11 September 2023