Club Night Lights Program guidelines

2024–2025 funding round

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About Club Night Lights Program (CNLP)

The Club Night Lights Program exemplifies the State Government’s commitment to the development of sustainable floodlighting infrastructure for sport across the State.

The purpose of the program is to provide financial assistance to community groups and local governments to develop sports floodlighting infrastructure. The program aims to maintain or increase participation in sport and recreation with an emphasis on physical activity, through rational development of good quality, well-designed and well-utilised facilities.

Through the CNLP, the State Government will invest $10 million over 4 years from 2021-22 through to the 2024-25 financial years, towards floodlighting infrastructure. There are 2 small grant rounds advertised annually (February and July) for projects with a cost up to $500,000. The maximum grant offered for small grant applications is 50% of the project cost, capped at $200,000. There is one forward planning round advertised each year for projects with a cost exceeding $500,000. The maximum grant offered for forward planning grants is one third of the total estimated project cost (excluding GST) up to a maximum grant of $1 million.

Eligibility criteria

The CNLP can fund new lighting installations, or upgrades to existing lighting infrastructure, which will maintain or increase physical activity and participation.

Examples of projects which will be considered for funding include:

  • providing floodlighting to community training and/or local match play standard where existing facilities do not meet appropriate standards
  • meeting strategic objectives for state sporting associations by providing facilities for competition play at formally identified locations
  • replacing aging metal-halide floodlighting with energy efficient LED floodlighting to community training and/or community match play standard
  • power upgrades directly linked to the development of lighting.

Funds will not be available for:

  • projects that commence before approvals are announced
  • non-floodlighting infrastructure
  • non-fixed floodlighting
  • safety, pathway or casual recreation floodlighting.
  • development of privately owned facilities
  • facilities considered to be a full State Government responsibility unless there is demonstrated community sporting and recreation need/benefit commensurate with the funding request
  • recurring maintenance or operating costs of existing facilities
  • purchase of land
  • projects that do not meet Australian Standards and National Construction Code
  • projects that have already received State Government funding and are seeking an additional grant to meet cost increases.
  • applicants/projects that have received a department grant in the past and have not satisfactorily acquitted that grant. In some cases this may apply to localities where other significant projects have not been progressed or have not completed a previous project in accordance with the conditions of the grant provided. Department officers will make an assessment and at their discretion, new applications may not be recommended.
  • projects that have State Government funding in excess of 66.66% of the total project cost
  • local government overheads, project administration and project management (unless expressly approved in the grant agreement).

Level of funding available

An amount of $10 million is allocated over four years from 2021-2022 through to the 2024-2025 financial years. Notionally, $2.5 million will be allocated each year.

The department will assess the total eligible cost of your project (excluding GST) from the information provided. Any ineligible items shown as eligible will be deducted from the eligible project cost. This may result in the funding eligible for your project being less than the amount you have requested.

The department does not guarantee you will receive the full amount of the grant requested or the maximum level of funding. The level of financial assistance offered will be based on the overall significance of the proposed project, including the benefits provided to the community. If applicable, receiving financial assistance under this program does not guarantee future stages of your project will be funded.

There is no obligation on your local government or state sporting association to make a financial contribution to a project, however a contribution from all stakeholders (which may include local government, state sporting association and user clubs) in a project that meets local and sporting needs will be viewed favourably.

State Government funding for any project cannot exceed two thirds (66.66%) of the total project cost.

Life cycle cost guidelines

An important part of the funding process is to ensure the community can bear the true cost of running and maintaining a facility well into the future.

Developing a life cycle cost approach when considering your project’s parameters will provide you with a solid and informed base from which to make the most effective financial, economic and operationally sustainable decisions. This life cycle assessment should be undertaken in the planning of any project so all parties have an understanding of the upfront, ongoing and replacement costs over the life of the project.

A life cycle cost analysis must be provided for projects with a total cost over $500,000.

Please refer to our Life Cycle Cost Guidelines.

Sinking fund

A sinking fund is established by setting aside revenue over a period of time to meet future capital expenses. The annual amount to be set aside is determined by the expected life of the asset using the formula:

Expected cost of replacement (including inflation) divided by the expected number of years before replacement

The responsibility for maintaining and operating a facility rests with the local government, the club or a combination of both. It is important that applicants can demonstrate they can maintain the facility by developing a sinking fund for asset replacement. Local governments, as the asset owner, are expected to ensure that part of their assessment of a project includes confirmation they will underwrite any shortfalls.

Voluntary labour

Voluntary labour is work undertaken by people, without compensation or reward.

The value of work undertaken by volunteers can be included in the applicant’s contribution. Voluntary labour is allowable up to $50,000 in value, however the grantee’s cash contribution must match any non-cash contribution to the project.

Administration of projects, preparation of applications, claim forms, documentation, etc, is not recognised as a claimable item. In general local government staff hours will not be recognised.

Voluntary labour can be classified as follows:


General work is being undertaken where no recognised qualification is required. This includes work that is supervised by a skilled person and labourers.


A person with a recognised qualification specific to the work to be undertaken, i.e. electrician, grader driver etc.


A person with a formal tertiary qualification specific to the work to be undertaken, i.e. architectural, legal, engineering, surveying work or similar.

Charge-out rates

  • Unskilled voluntary labour is calculated at a rate no greater than $25 per hour.
  • Skilled voluntary labour is calculated at a rate of up to $40 per hour.
  • Professional voluntary labour is calculated at a rate of up to $60 per hour.
  • • Voluntary labour must be recorded on a Schedule of Voluntary Labour, and endorsed by the local government. This can be included as part of the overall project cost when making a claim.

Donated materials

Donated materials can be recognised as part of an applicant’s contribution (see examples at the end of this section). Donated materials must be recorded on a Schedule of Donated Materials, which must be endorsed by the local government.

There is no limit on donated materials, however the applicant’s non-cash contribution cannot exceed the applicant’s cash contribution to the project.

Any local government cash/labour/machinery/materials are to be costed as part of the applicant’s cash contribution, not as voluntary labour or donated materials. However, certain services are considered to be part of the local governments normal function, for example shire engineers and administration/finance staff, project management and costs associated will not be recognised.

Donated materials may not be recognised where the donor is the supplier or contractor involved in the project. It is essential that the applicant completes a valid tender process before considering donations or discounts related to suppliers and contractors.

Note: If the supplier or contractor provides materials at the wholesale price or lower, then the difference between the retail price and the wholesale price may be recognised as a donation, (i.e. it has to be demonstrated that the donor is foregoing their profit component in favour of the applicant/project).

  • The intent is to prevent suppliers or contractors simply scaling up components or project costs to secure a greater level of grant.
  • The applicant is to provide satisfactory supporting evidence to establish the value of donated material, e.g. A letter or an invoice from the supplier stating the value of the donation and how or on what basis the valuation was made.
  • Cash donations form part of a grantee’s cash contribution.
  • Donated land — neither a local government nor an applicant can claim donated land as part of their contribution.
  • Land purchased by the applicant — the funds spent by an applicant on purchasing the land for the facility is not allowable as part of the applicant’s contribution.
  • The donation is a sponsorship.

Examples of voluntary labour/donated materials

There are a variety of voluntary labour and/or donated materials combinations possible. Applicants must first estimate the total cost of the project and then work backwards to see if the method by which they intend to fund the project is allowable. The most important rules are:

  • CNLP contribution will not exceed half of the GST exclusive project cost (or the percentage of funding approved as per application).
  • The applicant’s non-cash contribution must be matched by the applicant’s cash contribution. Local government donations in cash or kind are treated as cash contributions by the applicant.
  • Voluntary labour cannot exceed $50,000.

How do I apply?

You must contact your nearest department office to discuss your project in order to be eligible for funding. There are nine regional offices located throughout Western Australia.

Application forms are available from your nearest department office (regional WA) and local government (metro area only). A draft for information purposes can be downloaded.


Applicants must be either a local government or a not-for-profit sport, recreation or community organisation incorporated under the  WA Associations Incorporation Act 2015 and have an Australian Business Number (ABN). Clubs must demonstrate equitable access to the public on a short term and casual basis.

The land on which the facility is to be developed must be one of the following:

  • Crown reserve
  • land owned by a public authority
  • municipal property
  • land held for public purposes by trustees under a valid lease, title or trust deed that adequately protects the interests of the public.

Assessment of application

Throughout the planning process you must liaise with department officers to ensure that you adequately address the assessment criteria and that information in your application can be clearly understood. The emphasis of the assessment factors is on a planned approach to facility provision and will require the applicant to demonstrate need and to consider planning, design, and management issues to substantiate the need for the proposed project.

Officers assessing applications will provide a rating against the level of project consultation. Where no consultation has occurred, the rating will be zero which will affect your chances of obtaining a grant. To apply for a development bonus, you must contact your nearest department office in order to determine whether you are eligible to apply.

The key principles of facility provision

The key principles of facility provision explain in depth the principles against which applications for CNLP funding will be assessed. Your application will be assessed on the quality of information you provide and how well this information meets the key assessment criteria. You must answer each question in the application form and supply all requested information.

Assessments have been based on the following criteria:

  • project justification
  • planned approach
  • community consultation
  • management planning
  • access and opportunity
  • design
  • financial viability
  • coordination
  • potential to increase physical activity
  • sustainability.

Further details are available in the department’s document Key Principles of Key Principles of Facilities Provision.

If you are applying for lighting above training standard, emphasis will be placed on projects formally identified by state sporting associations as a strategic location for match standard lighting.

Projects must also demonstrate that they can be delivered within the funding period. Projects will be assessed against the scope, time and budget being proposed. You must demonstrate that your project will be completed within the nominated timeframe.

Local government involvement

Applicants must liaise with their local government regarding planning and building approvals pertinent to their project. Your local government will assess all relevant applications and is to rank applications in priority order for the municipality.

No distinctions should be made in the ranking between local governments and community applications.

State sporting association involvement

Applicants must liaise with their state sporting association to discuss the project. State sporting associations are involved in the assessment of applications and may be able to provide valuable information when planning your project, particularly on information related to technical design issues and providing evidence of strategic planning for floodlighting locations.

Advice from all of the above forms part of the assessment of your project.

Application process and timeline

Your application form, together with the supporting documentation required, must be submitted to your local council by the relevant date outlined in the application process and timeline section. Please note that many local governments will close the application period sooner to accommodate council meeting schedules. It is recommended that you check the closing date for CNLP applications with your local government to avoid missing out.

More information on Club Night Lights Program timeframes.

Conditions of grant

Funding under this program is administered in accordance with the grant agreement, which is executed by successful applicants. Some key obligations of the recipients and conditions of the grant are below — please note actual conditions may differ at time of grant acceptance:

  1. The State Government’s grant will only be available up to 15 June in the financial year(s) in which it is offered (see above) and is only for use on the project approved. Grants not claimed in the year of offer may be forfeited.
  2. A grant will not exceed the stipulated percentage of the completed project cost (excluding GST), or the maximum grant offered, whichever is the lesser. DLGSC will assess the total eligible cost of your project (excluding GST) from the information provided.
  3. Where the grantee is an incorporated community group or a local government and is registered for GST, payments will be grossed up by 10% of the grant amount (see point 5 below). The DLGSC will issue a Recipient Created Tax Invoice (RCTI) with the grant payment.
  4. Where the grantee is an incorporated community group and is not registered for GST, grant payments will not be grossed up by 10% of the grant amount.
  5. Projects must comply with all laws and applicable building or construction codes, including access for persons with a disability, National Construction Code and other legislation.
  6. Any alterations to the plans supplied in the Application must be submitted to DLGSC for approval before calling tenders, expression of interest or signing contracts.
  7. The following procurement thresholds will be in place for all recipients:
    1. up to $50,000 must have been awarded on the basis that the Recipient obtained at least three (3) verbal quotes;
    2. over $50,000 up to $250,000 must have been awarded on the basis that the Recipient obtained at least three (3) written quotes; and
    3. over $250,000 must have been awarded after a public tendering process, and the Recipient must not "contract split" to avoid the intent of this clause.
  8. Subject to all criteria being met, projects can commence at any time following the announcement of approval.
  9. CNLP is primarily a reimbursement system. Funds must be spent and receipts presented. Only project expenditure which commenced after approvals were announced will be recognised for payment. Claims must be supported with detail (receipts) satisfying audit or Financial Management Act (FMA) and Auditor Generals Act 2006 requirements.
  10. Successful projects valued over $500,000 are able to claim 25% of their grant upon the signing of a major works contract. 50% of the grant may then be claimed once expenditure has reached 50%. The final 25% of the grant is to be claimed upon the completion of the project. It is important to note that the CNLP still primarily operates on a reimbursement basis. Grantees are required to demonstrate that the expenditure of funds has occurred prior to submitting a claim for payment.
  11. Successful projects valued under $500,000 can receive an upfront grant payment upon the signing of a works contract (copy of signed contract to be provided to the department) or where no formal works contract exists, payment will be determined on a case by case basis in consultation with the applicant. Upon completion of a project the applicant will be required to acquit the grant by providing the CNLP claim forms and sufficient evidence of expenditure. If the project is delivered under budget, then grant monies not expended will need to be returned to the DLGSC in accordance with the terms of the grant agreement. Any concerns should be discussed with DLGSC at the time of application.
  12. Voluntary labour can be a maximum of one-third of the project cost, but cannot exceed $50,000. Unskilled labour is calculated at $25 per hour, skilled labour at $40 per hour and professional labour at $60 per hour.
  13. Grantees are required to retain financial acquittal statements for at least three years following the date of final claim. The parties agree that, despite any provision of the conditions of grant to the contrary, the powers and responsibilities of the Auditor General under the FMA are not limited or affected by the conditions of grant.
  14. Grantees agree that the completed project may be randomly audited by DLGSC or the Office of the Auditor General, or his representative, against the submission and agreed conditions of grant. They also agree to assist with any research, evaluation, promotion and usage of the project as requested.
  15. At the completion of the project, grantees accept that they may be required to display signage acknowledging the State Government’s contribution to the project.
  16. Grantees are required to keep complete, up-to-date, accurate and detailed written records during and after the completion of the project.
  17. Grantees must provide DLGSC with a detailed written report outlining the project’s progress every 90 business days or upon request from DLGSC.
  18. Neither the State or nor any agent, instrumentality or emanation of the State shall be liable in negligence for the success or otherwise of the project or responsible for any losses or financial shortfalls based on the project.
  19. In an event of default, the State may terminate this agreement. Successful applicants should carefully read the terms of the grant agreement prior to acceptance.
  20. Grantees must create an asset replacement fund for the full cost of the new facility development.

State Government recognition

The State Government, through the department, provides a significant contribution to the sustainability and development of the sport and recreation industry. This is achieved through financial assistance and the provision of expertise, advice and services. It is important that recipients of this support recognise the State Government contribution during the funding relationship.

Accordingly, successful applicants are required to abide by the grant acknowledgement requirements.

Privacy Act

All information provided to the department and gathered during the grant assessment process will be stored on a database that will only be accessed by departmental personnel. The database is subject to privacy restrictions in accordance with the Privacy Act 1998 (Commonwealth) and the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

Resources for planning and managing sporting facilities

There are publications available on the department’s website which will assist you in preparing your application.

Suggested publications are:

Guide to shared use facilities

Jul 8, 2019, 14:34 PM
Title : Guide to shared use facilities
Introduction : Delivering better, cost-effective services to the community.
Select a publication type : Guide

In 1992, a comprehensive review of the functional and financial relationship between state and local government was conducted under the Better Government Agreement. The aim was to deliver better, cost-effective services to the community by building cooperative planning, funding, development and management partnerships.

The agreed aims were to:

  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities between both tiers of government.
  • Respond to community needs.
  • Reduce government expenditure by minimising duplication.
  • Improve financial arrangements between governments.

As an agreed outcome a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Capital Resource Sharing (Education and related facilities) was executed in 1993 between the Premier, the Minister for Education and the President of the Western Australian Municipal Association (now the Western Australian Local Government Association) on behalf of all local governments.

The MOU established the agreed structure and processes required to ensure that capital works programs for education and related facilities are coordinated to maximise the quality and quantity of value-for-money services delivered to and available to the community.

In 1999 as a joint initiative with the Department of Education (DoE) and the Department of Local Government (DLG), the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) released an issues paper that raised awareness of processes for planning the joint development and use of shared facilities at schools and within communities.

In 2009, DSR established the Physical Activity Task Force (PATF) Schools Working Group (SWG) under the umbrella of Be Active WA (BEAC), with the Department of Education as a foundation member.

The Group’s purpose was to manage and coordinate the implementation of a built environment strategy and aim to strategically support and influence physical activity, adding value to the work of other agencies.

In 2011, the SWG proposed to develop a standardised approach guide that would inform proponents and users on how to plan, develop and manage shared community and school facilities. The outcome of this collaborative work is this interactive guide – A guide to shared facilities in the sport and recreation community.

Guiding principles

Why share?

As the State’s population rapidly grows, so too does the demand for community access to high quality services, resources and facilities.  Schools present a unique opportunity to share significant public infrastructure and resources with local communities in addition to community infrastructure already provided by local government.

There is also an opportunity to share that infrastructure with other agencies and service providers, including local government.

What is unique about schools is the range of resources and facilities available to the community outside of school hours and on weekends. Extended community use of school facilities ensures a much greater return on a significant public investment.

The aggregating of resources and co-locating facilities that form community, education and recreation precincts ensures that government can deliver sustainable and accessible outcomes to the community and also drive cost efficiencies.

Why is a guide needed?

There are a number of source documents and policies across government that provide advice and guidance on the joint development and use of community and school facilities.

The key deliverable of this guide is to consolidate all of this valuable information into a single resource and reference point, capturing all the key elements of each stakeholder’s strategic aims and objectives.

The key driver has also been the inconsistencies and uncertainties prevalent in current shared use practices. Whilst there are many individual arrangements and agreements between schools, local governments and the community, there is no standardised approach for developing shared use facilities.

The guide is intended to be descriptive, not prescriptive, providing advice and assistance to stakeholders who may be considering proposing to use school facilities or entering into a shared use arrangement.

The Guide is a living document, responding to:

  • An ever-changing environment shaped by demographics and population growth.
  • Access to and availability of facilities on school premises.
  • Community expectation and need.
  • Funding limitations and constraints and sustainable development.
  • Management of shared assets and resources.

Shared use benefits

There are potentially significant benefits for maximising community and cross-government access to schools and public facilities.


  • The development of positive perceptions about schools and learning.
  • The development of cooperation and goodwill in school, community and local government relationships.
  • Increasing the opportunity for the broader community to access facilities and resources, which may not otherwise be available.
  • Increased community awareness of school activities and empowering the community to own the facilities.
  • Improved levels of security by out-of-hours use and passive surveillance, which can reduce vandalism.
  • The potential for increased financial returns to the school and the students and the sharing of operating costs.
  • Effective development of school and sporting club links providing extra-curricular recreational activities for students.
  • Less duplication and better utilisation of facilities and services invested in school facilities and resources.
  • To promote the school as a community hub and as a focal point for community services and activity.
  • To maximise the return on significant public investment in well-designed infrastructure.
  • To enhance community health and well-being by promoting, attracting and increasing participation rates.
  • To potentially attract grant funding at local, state and federal government level for application to shared initiatives.

Local government and the community

The benefits to local government and the community could be:

  • Enabling local government to better meet the growing needs and demands of emerging and existing communities.
  • To allow local governments to partner with schools to better deliver outcomes for community health and wellbeing through enhanced access to a broader range of services and facilities.
  • An increased capacity for schools to provide accessible community facilities because they have the existing infrastructure, which can both compliment and supplement local government infrastructure that may be under pressure.
  • Minimising the duplication of facilities and resources by maximising public access.
  • To facilitate the delivery of programs and activities where resources are limited by funding and isolation as in regional and rural areas.
  • To maximise opportunities for cost-efficient sharing, including managing, maintenance, staffing and energy costs.
  • To broaden community use by maximising the return on local government investment in community infrastructure.
  • To deliver infrastructure earlier than anticipated by aggregating resources.

Principles and objectives

Department of Education

The principles for sharing school facilities are identified by the Department of Education as:

  • Encouraging collaborative relationships between schools and communities. 
  • Improved utilisation of school facilities by community groups and educational providers is a legitimate and reasonable use of publicly funded facilities, enabling schools to better meet community expectations.
  • Ensuring Principals are authorised to enter into agreements with outside parties to use school facilities and resources for a fixed term and value.

Local government and communities

The guiding principles for local government and community users of shared facilities are considered as:

  • A diverse group of users should have the ability to access a range of facilities, subject to capacity and demand.
  • The facilities should be ‘fit for purpose’ to support the intended community use.
  • The facilities should be open and accessible at the agreed times.
  • There should be access to supporting amenities including toilets and car parking.
  • Facilities should be maintained to appropriate and compliant health and safety standards.
  • Playing fields and courts should be maintained according to location and frequency of use in compliance with health and safety standards.

Shared use delivery objectives

The principle need for shared use, the intended objectives and the required outcomes should be determined and agreed by all parties at the concept inception stage prior to the execution of any formal agreements.

To assist with that process, the following key objectives need to be considered and addressed, which includes though is not limited to:

  • Providing new facilities or improving access to existing facilities for the community that maximises the conduct of cultural, social, recreational, sporting and other activities deemed necessary to promote education, health and well-being.
  • Manage shared facilities equitably, affordably and appropriately to maximise community participation and access.
  • Maintain shared facilities to the appropriate standard to maximise opportunities for bookings and utilisation and to promote availability and accessibility of the assets to the community.
  • Deriving income from the use of shared facilities to be directed as agreed to schools and local government for funding educational programs and asset and facility maintenance.

In order to meet the principles and objectives identified, the following elements will need to be considered at the conceptual stage:

  • Facilities are to achieve compliance with all statutory standards, codes and regulations and to be fit for purpose for community use.
  • Operational roles and responsibilities for the orderly management of shared facilities must be clearly defined.
  • Access to shared facilities must be universal for a broad range of users and user groups.
  • Agreed hours of use and prioritisation of use must be clearly defined, which in the case of schools, is determined by each school’s operational and student attendance periods.
  • Where possible, fees and charges must be equitable, affordable and value the asset consumed for all users.
  • Generate sufficient funds to maintain shared assets at the required standards and result in a dividend to the school when school premises are used.
  • Co-contributions for operating and maintaining facilities must be fair and reasonable, commensurate with the frequency and period of utilisation and the level of management required to operate and/ or maintain facilities.
  • The roles and responsibilities of service providers and users must be clearly defined in an approved shared agreement when applied to equipping, cleaning, servicing and maintaining facilities in serviceable order.
  • The type and extent of insurance coverage must be clearly established and assigned to the appropriate stakeholder.  It must be apparent to users what they are covered for and when they must arrange their own coverage for themselves or members of the community or school students, who they are conducting activities with or providing services to.
  • An independent and orderly dispute resolution process should be established and confirmed in any shared use agreement.

What assistance will the guide provide?

Research has identified resources that influence the proper and orderly planning of shared facilities for the benefit of current and future generations. It indicates effective shared use has been dependent on the ability of community and school-based facilities to supplement or complement each other, addressing potential strategic gaps in service delivery. 

A suite of planning tools has been developed to effect the basic principles of shared use that include fairness, transparency and equity.

The guide provides:

  • Practical information about good governance
  • Operational models  
  • Budgetary and financial commitments and agreements
  • Management of competing interests
  • Shared stakeholder vision
  • Agreement terms and conditions
  • Dispute resolution
  • Tools and resources
  • Design principles including entry and access pints, place making, site management and security, functional objectives, building and asset management, checklist, roles and responsibilities.

The guide is directed at using and sharing facilities at existing established schools and proposing, planning and developing shared facilities at new schools.

The guide also informs stakeholders or proponents about the fundamental principles of shared use and shared facilities.

The essential elements of the guide are: 

Planning shared use
  • Outlines the fundamental drivers and principles that initiate and conceive shared use proposals.
  • Provides advice on all aspects of strategic planning of shared facilities including land assembly, partnerships, funding and procurement timelines.
  • Guides stakeholders through the process to acquire shared facilities.
Governing shared use
  • Provides advice on establishment of policies and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation by the members of a governing body that manages shared facilities.
Managing shared use
  • Provides guidance on operational practices and the appropriate management of shared assets.

Shared use facilities – new schools

Opportunities – new schools

The Department of Education builds new schools in response to population growth and development. Currently, one government primary school is built to service every 1500 housing units and one government secondary school is built to service 6500-7000 housing units, which is equivalent to four or five primary schools.

Every new government primary and secondary school has a suite of facilities that provide opportunities for recreation, sporting and associated community activities. These include sports ovals and playing fields, sports halls and multi-marked hard courts.

These facilities may offer opportunities for local government to join with the Department of Education to consolidate resources and funding and share in the development and use of specific facilities or enhance the standard provision of school-based facilities to provide a broader community benefit for accommodating more active sporting participation.

Where a new school is co-located with shared public open space, both the local government and the Department of Education will enter into a joint arrangement to plan and develop shared facilities to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for both the school and the community.

Together with the completed facilities at a new school and the provision of facilities on a shared public open space, both the school and the community will have access to comprehensive passive and active facilities that support school-based activities and organised or incidental sporting and physical activity.

Facilities at new primary schools

A new primary school is designed in accordance with the Department of Education’s standard pattern design brief (Primary School Brief), which determines and prescribes the size and type of facilities to be provided at each school.  This allows for a rapid construction and delivery timeline, which is generally a minimum of two years from the ministerial announcement to the opening of the school, with the complete school built in a single stage.

Therefore it is recommended that early forward planning of shared facilities is initiated anywhere from three to five years minimum in advance of the development of the school. It may be possible that co-located shared public open space facilities are delivered in advance of the primary school to meet more immediate community demand.

The location of a school may be an important consideration where some outdoor facilities need to be enhanced in response to unique local conditions such as the environment and climate. For example, the basketball court at a primary school located in the northwest of the State may require roof cover to allow for safe use both during and outside school hours.

Climate responsive solutions are one area of opportunity where local governments can contribute to enhancing standard school-based facilities or expand facilities to meet higher specifications or the demand for organised competitive sports.

Facilities schedule – primary school

Every new primary school will have facilities, particular in nature, size and purpose, which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity. The facilities currently provided at a primary school, which accommodates Kindergarten to Year 6 students in the 4 – 11 year old age group, includes but may not be limited to: 

  • A junior football oval 118 x 84 metres, including over-run, and generally on a preferred north-south alignment. 
  • A concrete cricket pitch, centrally located on the oval and finished with synthetic turf.
  • Two cricket practice nets generally attached as a composite of the hard courts and on the edge of the oval where possible and opening out onto the oval.
  • Two multi-marked basketball/netball courts with an acrylic finish 30 x 15 metres (41 x 37 metres with over-run) overlain at right angles with two tennis courts.
  • A covered assembly building up to 280 sqm² in area, which can be used for physical activities. 

Facilities at new secondary schools

For secondary schools the Department of Education has developed a Planning Guide which is more descriptive in nature but still defines the size and type of facilities to be provided. The delivery timeline for a secondary school is generally a minimum of three years from announcement to opening.

Early forward planning of shared facilities will need to commence a minimum of four to six years prior to the development of the school. Secondary schools may be built in two stages, with the first stage comprising of facilities to accommodate a starting enrolment of Year 7 students in the foundation year.

The first stage generally includes the construction of the senior oval, four multi-marked hard courts and the sports hall. The final complement of physical activity related facilities that are delivered in the second stage include the hockey/soccer playing field and four more hard courts. 

Again as with primary schools, it may be entirely possible that co-located shared public open space facilities may be delivered in advance of the secondary school to meet more immediate community demand for active open space and community facilities.

The location of a secondary school may be an important factor when considering the conduct of some outdoor activities. Fortunately, secondary schools have an indoor, all weather covered basketball court that will better respond to unique local conditions impacted upon by climate.

Enhancing other outdoor facilities, such as hard courts by providing roof cover, may be considered to build greater capacity for year-round use.  This is an area of opportunity where local governments can contribute to improving school-based facilities or expand facilities.

Facilities schedule – secondary school 

Secondary schools are provided with higher end facilities, which suit the more senior 12–17 year old age group. As with primary schools, each new secondary school will contain facilities that are particular in nature, size and purpose and which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity. 

The facilities that may be accommodated at a particular school may include, but may be not limited to: 

  • A senior football oval 173 x 143 metres, including over-run. 
  • A hockey/soccer field 100 x 61 metres, including over-run.
  • A concrete cricket pitch, centrally located on the oval and finished with synthetic turf.
  • Two cricket practice nets generally attached as a composite of the hard courts and on the edge of the oval where possible and opening out onto the oval.
  • A sports hall up to 608sqm in area (equates to 37 x 19 metres in size), which accommodates a basketball court with over-run.
  • Two multi-marked basketball/netball courts up to 30 x 15 metres (with over-run possibly up to 41 x 37 metres) overlain at right angles with two tennis courts.  Generally, courts have a bitumen or acrylic finish.
  • Additionally, four to six tennis courts co-located with the basketball/netball courts and also generally finished in bitumen or acrylic. 
  • There will be a number of general purpose learning areas and some seminar rooms at each school that may be suitable for meetings, seminars or the like. 
  • The ability to accommodate all these types of facilities at an existing school will be dependent on the school site having sufficient developable land area.
  • In some instances these facilities may be wholly or partly off-site as part of or all of co-located local government public open space that the school has access to under a joint arrangement confirmed by a licence agreement that contains terms and conditions for shared use.
  • The amount of incidental grassed and/or paved areas available in an existing school for passive recreation and socialising space varies from school to school and is dependent on site size and topography.
  • Toilets at primary and secondary schools may be made available at the Principal’s discretion.
  • Universal access toilets are generally available at all schools. Specialised universal access bathrooms and other facilities will generally be only available where the school has an education support centre on-site or is a designated education support school.
  • Secondary schools generally have change rooms and again it will be at the Principal’s discretion if these facilities are made available to third party users.

The benefits of good planning

The delivery of shared use infrastructure, wherever possible, needs to be considered fully in advance of the development of a school and the associated community facility, preferably prior to the design of both projects. Evidence suggests that where pre-planning occurs, the ownership by a broader range of stakeholders, partners and user groups is better understood and maintained.

Stakeholders ultimately act as positive project advocates, ensuring that the benefits to both the community and the school will be maximised and the best return on the shared investment will be achieved.

If the core elements of a shared use project are addressed in the earlier stages of a project then it more likely that the final outcome will benefit from this proactive planning, avoiding any uncertainty related to unresolved issues.

Core elements of a shared use development

Some key early planning issues associated with the development and use of shared use facilities that need to be considered are:

  • Funding certainty and future budget allocations that will collectively cover actual shared use development, operational and management costs.
  • Allowing for potentially different project delivery timelines and confirming future funding commitments from all parties.
  • Negotiating and agreeing on the scope of work and proportional contributions for developing and maintaining the shared facilities.
  • Establish good governance principles to ensure the shared facilities will be properly managed and maintained.
  • Clearly determine roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders that will be applicable during different phases of the project from inception to operation.
  • Determine the size, type, profile and standard of the shared facilities to meet the educational needs of the school and the recreational and physical activity demands of the community.
  • Develop review processes that can measure use, demand and performance of shared facilities, ensuring continuous improvement and attention to emerging or changing needs, amendments to statutory governing regulations and codes.
  • Agree on terms and conditions for priority use and operational hours that are assigned to the school and to community use, both during and after school hours.
  • Carefully consider all duty of care and occupational health and safety issues that may be affected or influenced by the sharing of facilities, either wholly or partially located on a school site or co-located community open space.

Facility design

There are a number of essential ingredients when designing new schools, which may or may not be integrated with co-located community open space and includes shared facilities within the scope of a joint arrangement. These include: 

  • Efficient and effective land use that maximises the developable area of the individual stand-alone or combined sites.
  • Delineation between secured education land and public access land.
  • Clearly defined school access and public access points, avoiding any confusion or undesirable public access or thoroughfare through the school.
  • Integration of the school with the community and a seamless interface with shared public open space, when co-located with a school.
  • The agreed type, size, specification, standard of finish and accommodation provided for shared facilities is to satisfy education service delivery requirements and community demand for services.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement to ensure short, medium and long term demands, objectives and needs are satisfied and met by the development of shared facilities.  
  • Final product is to be within budgetary constraints, whilst exploring innovative design solutions that deliver the most cost efficient outcome.

Good design will be enabled by good communication and processes established at the inception of the project. For new schools, the education delivery model should be established well in advance of the project.

If shared use facilities are a component of a new school then representatives from the Department of Education, from the school (once appointed) and the local government should consult extensively and collaboratively with each other, whilst engaging with the broader community and interested stakeholders. Through the design process, all participants must focus on:

  • Clearly establishing an agreed scope of work.
  • Agreeing on equitable and proportional capital and recurrent cost contributions.
  • Determining priorities, objectives and outcomes.
  • Identifying development and delivery timelines.
  • Developing good governance and management principles that will support the operational functions.
  • Preparing maintenance regimes.
  • Accommodating universal access.
  • Encouraging and promoting physical activity and social interaction.
  • Ensuring occupational health and safety, security and duty of care concerns are addressed.
  • Maximising public access and use.
  • Acknowledging roles and responsibilities.
  • Defining terms and conditions of use.
  • Establishing the standard, quality and level of accommodation required.

This focus should be maintained throughout the project by all stakeholders and beneficiaries to derive the greatest shared benefit. An awareness of the key elements that guide the design will ensure that:

  • Essential requirements are accurately reflected in the final product. 
  • There’s scope for innovation and contemporary design solutions.
  • The process encourages decision making that can deliver the very best sport and recreation-focused outcomes.

Requirements related to specific sports and recreational activities, including circulation space and external areas, will drive the design of the shared open space component including the ancillary facilities and amenities.

It is recommended that initial design planning begins at a very conceptual level. This prepares the broader strategic footprints of the facilities in order to develop each inter connecting component in more detail, encouraging the integration of all stakeholder requirements and design elements.

Considerations when designing shared use facilities on school premises

It is critical due consideration is given to a number of important factors when undertaking design work on shared facilities that are wholly or partially located on school premises.

It is not this guide’s intention to provide specific and detailed design instruction about specific facilities and requirements for individual sports, but to highlight some basic principles of shared use design. General principles listed can be related to both school premises and community open space and be a shared or individual responsibility of the Department of Education or local government. 

Some of those principles include:

  • Establishing at local government level, using a gap analysis, the current and future recreational needs of an established or emerging community.
  • Investigating the site location and context to ensure that sufficient land area is identified and set aside in the planning process to ensure that the full complement of facilities can be accommodated on both the school and the open space.
  • Acknowledging local conditions such as the location and type of housing, proposals for commercial and retail centres and the provision of other community facilities, for example, which may determine entry and access points and building locations.
  • Shared use buildings or facilities on school sites should be located where possible on the edge of the site, making them highly visible and accessible by the public.
  • The grouping and positioning of buildings, shared use or otherwise, should encourage passive after hours surveillance.
  • Exploring opportunities for combining resources consolidating car parking areas on both school and open space sites to create a critical mass of bays that can be utilised by the school during school hours and by the community out of school hours and on weekends.
  • Pro-actively lobbying for the provision of effective and functional links to transport networks such as public transport routes, cycle routes, and footpaths to and around public open space and school sites using road reserves and dual use pathways of sufficient carriage width. 
  • Ensuring site profiles and configurations will allow a north-south orientation and alignment for ovals and sporting fields, thereby avoiding restrictions on the developable area of the school and the open space.
  • Where possible to employ sound environmental values by retaining trees and other elements of the existing natural environment as long as it does not impact on the use and enjoyment of the facilities by the school and the community.
  • Avoiding communal drainage solutions being proposed on school sites and being contained on open space land, significantly compromising the functionality of the remaining space.
  • Promoting the provision of sites with manageable topography that encourages universal access and limits level changes between the school and the open space.
  • Planning for emergency vehicle access to service both the school site and the open space area.
  • Ensuring access points and pathways for public access are clearly defined and identifiable and delineated from the more secured access to the school to comply with duty of care and security requirements.
  • Attending to site management and site security, which is paramount for encouraging high utilisation of shared facilities.
  • Clearly identifying shared used facilities that have public access during school hours, thereby eliminating any confusion with school-specific facilities where public access is not permitted or limited. This also applies to car parking and other service areas using signage that defines access and use.
  • After-hours security lighting that provides adequate exposure without impacting on adjoining residents – this includes sports lighting that must have limited impact on the community.
  • Specifying durable and resilient materials that support safe environments and low maintenance values. 
  • Designing and supplying of sensible and sustainable landscaping that is low maintenance and low water use and is of a height that does not limit or restrict surveillance.
  • Avoiding where possible, zones and areas that are screened from public view and presenting opportunities for anti-social behaviour.

Additional project development and building design information

There’s a wide range of design, spatial requirements and technical guides are available for informing stakeholders of specific individual sports and community facility types that are relevant when planning and developing public open space that is co-located with a school and will be the subject of a joint arrangement. 

These are generally available through DSR and should be used as the basis of the requirements for any sports provision and include: 

The Facility Planning Guide – Sport and Recreation Facilities (2007)

An overview of the facility planning process for a specific sport or recreation facility. It identifies the stages involved in the facility planning process, the key principles of facility provision, highlights the benefits of joint and shared facilities, identifies sources of capital funding and references various facility planning resources. 

The Asset Management Guide

A series of practical tools to assist with the development of a facility asset management plan.

The Decision Making Guide

Assists facility planners in determining the need for, and feasibility of, community sport and recreation services. The model in this guide can also be structured to apply to program-based solutions. 

Management Plan Guide

Provides advice on the development of a management plan which is designed to deliver a project during the set-up phase and for the lifetime of the project.

Life Cycle Cost Guidelines

Provides the tools needed to develop life cycle cost reports that will be used by DSR as it considers publicly-owned or funded facilities. It advocates a standardised analysis and reporting process to ensure a timely and accurate technical review of a facility or project.

Sports Dimensions for Playing Areas

A guide to the dimensions required for all indoor and outdoor playing surfaces, including run-off for safe play. 

General shared facility operational design and management

In addition to basic sound design principles, there are a number of other aspects which need to be considered that are specific to operating and managing shared facilities. These aspects should be considered during the detailed design when resolving operational specific issues matters, which may include:

  • Establishing actual or potential users and frequency of use from casual to regular as this may determine the quality and comfort of finish and service that will attract initial use and sustain regular use.
  • Acknowledging the significant age range of both school-based and community users and determine how this may impact on the scale and provision of amenity and the duty of care and safety issues where children may be co-users at the same time that adults are enjoying the benefits of the shared facilities.
  • Recognising that the scale, quantity and provision of facilities at primary schools will be very different from those at secondary schools, again because of the age difference, which suggests careful consideration must be given to co-locating shared community facilities with more adult orientated secondary schools where possible
  • Incorporating flexibility into the design to allow separation of students from the public when activities are being conducted concurrently.
  • Understanding that the management regimes and protocols of a government school may be very different from the management practices of a local government when shared facilities are involved as both parties may have to comply with a differing variety of acts, regulations, codes and policies
  • Cleaning and maintenance practices can be quite different at schools when compared with those expected at shared community facilities ie shared public ovals, for example, will be maintained at a much higher standard than a school oval because of regular sustained use resulting in more wear and tear. 
  • Accommodating sufficient secured storage areas where required at both the school and the community facility to ensure all user needs are met by any shared arrangement.
  • Specifying materials to meet the requirements of multiple-use eg a school based sports hall may be used as an examination venue and as a training and competition venue so the sports flooring will need to be protected or be suitable to accept tables and chairs
  • Consider incorporating amenity specific for spectators, such as demountable seating or external terracing that will be beneficial to both school-based activities and community events involving sporting or physical activity. 
  • Using materials and surface finishes that allow safe and unhindered universal access.
  • Providing clearly identified universal access parking bays that are located in close proximity to shared facilities.
  • Using materials with highly visual tones and colours, which both emphasise and delineate access points to the school and the shared facility.
  • Locating and consolidating car parking areas, as required, that serve shared facilities and in sufficient quantity to derive a shared benefit for school hour use and after hours use.
  • Installing strategic lighting for after-hours use that welcomes users and heightens the perception of a safe and secure environment for all operating, maintenance and management staff and members of the public.  
  • Ensuring vehicle access points are highly visible and safely entered with direct access to parking areas that are evident but discrete with sensitive landscaping that reduces the visual impact without limiting or compromising the passive or active surveillance of these areas.

Shared use existing school facilities


The Department of Education has more than 770 government schools located throughout the State in both metropolitan and regional areas.

Each school has facilities suitable for use by the community for the purpose of recreation and physical activity.

These facilities will vary from school to school, depending on the type of school, the age of the school and whether it is a primary school, a secondary school or a district high school.

Primary schools for example will generally have a junior size oval, two outdoor multi-marked tennis, netball and basketball courts and a covered assembly building that includes a canteen.

Secondary schools will generally have a senior size oval, eight outdoor multi-marked tennis, netball and basketball courts, a cafeteria and an indoor sports hall that accommodates a single multi-marked basketball court.

The use of school premises provides opportunities for the development of valuable partnerships to jointly use or share facilities under agreements with communities and local governments.

The Department of Education has currently entered into nearly 250 individual leased or licenced joint agreements that permit the use of school facilities or the reciprocal use of community facilities.

Many schools have entered into individual arrangements with sporting teams, clubs and community groups for the use of facilities on school premises.  These arrangements are generally for a one-off or incidental use or a seasonal or more regular short term use.

Policy and guidelines

In regard to the use of facilities at existing schools, the Department of Education has developed a policy, Community Use Policy.  This link also includes other links to:



This policy informs school principals about the responsible use of school premises for recreation and other purposes.

The policy confirms that school principals, within their scope of authority delegated under the School Education Act 1999 (WA), may allow the use of existing facilities on their school premises by third parties if the use:

  1. Is non-education in nature.
  2. Does not interfere with the normal operations of the school
  3. Won’t adversely affect the safety or welfare of students and school staff.
  4. Does not result in property damage on the premises or excessive wear and tear requiring maintenance of the premises.
  5. Has no impact on the community or the surrounding neighbourhood.
  6. Of the land complies with the approved zoning.
  7. Causes no conflict of interest between the user and school staff, school board members or Parent and Citizens Association office bearers. 
  8. Does not conflict with the ethos and values of the school or otherwise adversely affect the school’s reputation.

This policy does not apply to the proposed use of school premises if:

  1. A joint arrangement, lease or partnership agreement is required.
  2. Expenditure is to be incurred by the Department of Education.
  3. New or additional facilities are required to accommodate or facilitate the proposed use eg permanent or transportable buildings or additions to existing buildings.
  4. The modification of existing facilities is needed eg alterations to existing permanent or transportable buildings.
  5. The provision of additional services or infrastructure is required eg power upgrade, data/phone system expansion etc.
  6. Making good to school property is required after each use.
  7. Maintenance expenditure is incurred due to excessive wear and tear.

The policy is accompanied by a number of guiding documents that supports the implementation of and compliance with the policy and both informs principals and members of the community about the process required for considering and assessing proposals seeking permission to use facilities on school premises.

As the designated site manager of a school, a Principal has ultimate responsibility for determining if the proposed use of his or her school will comply with the policy and thereby ensuring a shared benefit will be enjoyed by both the school and the community. 

A Principal can decide what activities can be conducted and what services can be delivered on school premises. They should assess each request on its merits and give due consideration to the relevant acts and applicable policies, which inform their decision making and risk assessment and management process. 


One of the most commonly asked questions is insurance. The Department of Education explains insurance regarding schools and shared use


Risk management


A critical element when considering allowing the use of facilities on existing school premises are the risks associated with third party use. The school can be potentially exposed to unforeseen or unnecessary risk, which can:

  • Potentially mean school governing bodies and the Principal are in the position of having acted unlawfully.
  • Confer unintended legal rights and obligations that are difficult to mitigate or terminate.
  • Create unforeseen management and financial issue that may be detrimental to the school’s ongoing operations.
  • Compromise the educational focus of a school.

A number of the risks associated with making schools available for shared use (i.e. health and safety, child protection and additional security concerns) are also relevant to other community facilities and infrastructure, where the proposed use is outside the traditional or intended purpose or use.

Determining risk

A number of key considerations need to be addressed when determining the risk associated with a proposal to use school facilities.

The over-riding question is whether the Principal/responsible management body (as the entity responsible for day-to-day health and safety on a school/community site/facility) is prepared to accept the risks associated with the new user group. A new user may give rise to new risks that will need to be addressed through alterations to premises or the way in which they are managed. The following Risk Assessment template identifies the additional questions to be asked.

Risk assessment

Principals must conduct a risk assessment prior to granting permission for an approved use of school premises by third parties. The assessment must ensure the impact on the key issues of occupational health and safety and child protection are addressed.

The issues that need to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The proposed use of the site.
  • Whether the facilities to be used are fit for this purpose.
  • Whether the proposed use is legal and in keeping with the requirements of the Department of Education and the school’s purpose and goals.
  • Whether the third party is a suitable person, organisation, club or association to enter into an arrangement.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the third party organisers and participants.
  • The supervision of children on the premises, including playing fields or ovals, play equipment areas, changing rooms, toilets and car parks.
  • The condition of the premises and associated infrastructure and equipment.
  • Emergency response plans, including access to a phone and first aid equipment.

As it is the responsibility of the Principal to grant permission for a proposed use, it is reasonable for the Principal to expect that potential users will provide full disclosure of the intended activity or activities to be conducted and the service or services to be provided on-site to allow a fully transparent risk assessment process.

The following checklist is provided to assist with an understanding of associated risks and a methodology for assessing risks.

Risk assessment checklist

Are the premises in their existing form and condition suitable for the uses proposed or will adaptations and/or alterations be needed?    
Will the proposals, including any foreseeable future intensification of use, impact on the delivery of education to pupils?   
Are there effective traffic management controls to moderate the vehicular and pedestrian access in and around the school having regard to the activity period associated with the intended use?   
Are adequate security and child protection measures in place?   
Has fire safety been adequately considered?   
Will the use discriminate against people with disability and will the premises limit universal access?   
Will the premises need to be altered or added onto in any way to facilitate the use of the premises, thereby incurring school or Department of Education expenditure?   
Will it be necessary to incur additional expense if specialist advice is required and sought to help manage complex and potentially disorganised activities?   
Will the use of the premises result in excessive wear and tear requiring school or Department of Education funds to be directed towards additional unnecessary maintenance expenditure?   
Does the intended use involve a swimming pool located on the premises and has the proponent demonstrated that all statutory compliances have or will be met?   
Has appropriate third party insurance coverage been provided by the proponent?   
Has consideration been given for reimbursing the school for energy and water consumption that is expected to be generated by the proposed use?   
Have appropriate approvals been granted and policies been complied with when granting permission for an approved use eg consumption of alcohol?   
Have mandatory child protection requirements been complied with?   
Has the proponent demonstrated a financial capacity sufficient for the proposed use?   
Are appropriate and sufficient resources being applied to manage the activity or provide the service and if not requiring the school to assign or re-assign their own staff and resources?   

Roles and responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities in respect of risk associated with the use of facilities on school premises will vary according to the use proposed. In respect to the use of facilities on existing schools, the main roles and responsibilities include:

  • Department of Education: Ensure familiarisation with, adherence to and application of Department of Education policies.
  • The school Principal:  Undertake the risk assessment and manage risk mitigation measures on their school site in the role as the site manager.
  • School governing body: Ongoing review of the risks associated with the use of school premises and ensure risk mitigation measures on site are appropriately adapted and modified.
  • Local government: To familiarise themselves with and adhere to requirements of the schools risk management plan.
  • User groups: To familiarise themselves with and adhere to requirements of the schools risk management plan.

What facilities might be available on the premises of existing schools?


The type, quantity and size of the facilities at existing schools will vary due to the type of school, the age of the school and the location of the school.

The type of school will determine the size of a particular facility such as an oval that will be, in the case of a primary school, a junior size of up to 118 x 84 metres in size, and in the case of a secondary school, a senior size of up to 173 x 143 metres.

The age of the school may suggest a smaller site area that may not have a full complement of facilities and therefore, for example, contain smaller ovals and playing fields. This is particularly evident at inner city schools that probably would have been built in a much earlier era.

The location of a school may have required some outdoor facilities to be enhanced in order to suit the local conditions and the local climate and ensure they can be used during all hours and in all weather conditions eg a covered basketball court at a school in a north west locality.

Third parties considering seeking permission to use facilities at an existing school will need to satisfy themselves the facilities will be sufficient and suitable for their needs.

Facilities schedule – existing schools

Every existing school will have facilities, particular in nature, size and purpose, which may be suitable for community or third party use for recreation or physical activity. The facilities that may be accommodated at a particular school may include, but is not limited to: 

Primary and district high school
  • A junior football oval up to 118 x 84 metres, including some over-run.
  • A concrete cricket pitch, often centrally located on the oval and possibly finished with synthetic turf.
  • Two cricket practice nets on the edge of the oval and generally opening out onto the oval.
  • Two multi-marked basketball/netball courts up to 30 x 15 metres (with over-run possibly up to 41 x 37 metres) overlain at right angles with two tennis courts.  Generally, courts have a bitumen or acrylic finish.
  • A covered assembly building up to 280 sqm² in area, which can be used for physical activities.
Secondary school
  • A senior football oval up to 173 x 143 metres, including some over-run.
  • A hockey/soccer field up to 100 x 61 metres, including some over-run.
  • A concrete cricket pitch, often centrally located on the oval and possibly finished with synthetic turf.
  • Two cricket practice nets on the edge of the oval and generally opening out onto the oval.
  • A sports hall up to 608sqm in area (equates to 37 x 19 metres in size), which accommodates a basketball court with over-run.
  • Two multi-marked basketball/netball courts up to 30 x 15 metres (with over-run possibly up to 41 x 37 metres) overlain at right angles with two tennis courts.  Generally, courts have a bitumen or acrylic finish.
  • In addition, four to six tennis courts co-located with the basketball/netball courts and also generally finished in bitumen or acrylic.
  • There will be a number of general purpose learning areas and possibly some seminar rooms at each school that may be suitable for meetings, seminars or the like.   
  • District high schools having more than 600 students should ideally have a senior-size oval (dependent on water availability) and a third basketball/netball court.
  • The ability to accommodate all these types of facilities at an existing school will be dependent on the school site having sufficient land area.
  • In some instances these facilities may be wholly or partly off-site as part of or all of co-located local government public open space that the school has access to under a joint arrangement confirmed by a licence agreement that contains terms and conditions for shared use.
  • The amount of incidental grassed and/or paved areas available in an existing school for passive recreation and socialising space varies from school to school and is dependent on site size and topography.
  • Toilets at primary and secondary schools may be made available at the Principal’s discretion.
  • Universal access toilets are generally available at all schools. Specialised universal access bathrooms and other facilities will generally only be available where the school has an education support centre on-site or is a designated education support school.
  • Secondary schools generally have change rooms and again it will be at the Principal’s discretion if these facilities are made available to third party users.
  • Whilst not being a standard design brief provision at either a primary or a secondary school, many schools independently provide long jump pits, which are often located on the edge of the oval.

Can facilities on the premises of existing schools be improved or expanded?

It is possible facilities at an existing school may be improved in response to a specific educational need that develops over time once a new school has been established or an existing school has been established for some time. It may also be as a result of an emerging community need in response to growth in a particular sport or physical activity that’s governed by local demographic characteristics such as age, social focus and cultural backgrounds.

A new school may be approached by the community it serves to use its facilities for a particular sport, such as hockey for example, as there is a high demand for this sport across all ages in a particular locality. Arrangements are made and agreements are entered into for a local club to use the appropriate facilities, which will be more evident at a secondary school.

The school may then have an opportunity to develop targeted curriculum paths for students that focus on a specific sport by creating academies that flourish with the support of State Sporting Associations and local clubs and teams. These academies have the potential of providing sports development hubs that are part of a specific State-wide sporting excellence development strategy.

The expansion or improvement to facilities at existing schools to accommodate a higher level of competition or an elite sporting pathway, may require a considerable capital investment for built facilities and an increased land take required for additional or expanded facilities. Using more school land may limit further future expansion of school specific facilities to meet the demand of increasing or peak enrolments.

A proposed enhancement of existing school facilities may attract Federal, State and local government funding from programs that sporting associations and clubs may be eligible to apply for. In all cases, the Department of Education is unable to fund the expansion of existing facilities unless it is the subject of a third party joint arrangement.

The management of schools, both for building and maintaining, comes under the auspices of Building Management and Works (BMW), the state government agency solely responsible for arranging improvements, alterations or additions to Department of Education-owned buildings on school sites. All such work will need to be approved by both the Department of Education and BMW and built under BMW’s management.

All new work on an existing school site will require statutory approvals and be required to meet all applicable building codes and regulations. No new building work or modifications to existing buildings at schools can occur without prior permission being sought and given by the Department of Education and BMW.

A considerable degree of early forward planning is recommended as historically projects of this nature can have lengthy timelines from the concept to the delivery phase. Early establishment of funding sources and availability of funds is also essential for successfully facilitating better amenity at a school that supports and encourages participation in all or specifically targeted sports.

Who do I contact?

When considering seeking permission to use facilities on the premises of an existing school, it is recommended that contact is made with the school in the first instance to discuss a potential use and then meet with the Principal to present the proposal in more detail.

The Department of Education’s Schools Online portal directs the public to a complete directory of public schools, with associated contact details and addresses. It is recommended the local school is contacted when exploring opportunities for community and shared use of facilities on the premises of an existing school.

Planning shared use

The development and use of shared facilities must be supported by comprehensive joint use agreements that establish operational and management roles and define responsibilities for capital and operating recurrent cost contributions.

Planning for shared use

The development and use of new shared infrastructure at new schools and co-located open space projects requires well considered and informed early forward planning, whereas shared use of existing school facilities can be immediate and subject to the agreed terms and conditions of use.

Early collaborative planning is central for ensuring the best possible service and infrastructure outcomes, delivery timelines and return on the significant shared investments.

The guiding principles and key considerations of this approach include:

When planning schools and community facilities, government and community participation is essential during the planning and design process.

Consideration 1: Community and government participation

Planning of government schools by the Department of Education can often occur well in advance of the development of schools, with long lead times in excess of, in some cases, 15 years or more.

Future school sites are identified in the planning process framework as a response to the lot yield of development and at a frequency prescribed by various statutory documents, including Development Control Policy DC 2.4 and Livable Neighbourhoods: Element 8.

Generally, there is one primary school for every 1,500 lots and one secondary school for every 7,000 lots with a servicing cluster of four primary schools. Primary schools, where possible, are located at the centre of their catchment or local intake areas. It is preferred that secondary schools are also central to the applicable local intake area.

It is during this process that school sites and public open space are ideally co-located in response to the strategic community service provisions of local government, which also requires considerable lead times to plan and secure sufficient infrastructure for future communities.

With the development of new schools, community consultation generally occurs at the procurement and delivery phase, which for primary schools begins two years before opening and with secondary schools it’s three years.

Community participation occurs at the master planning and schematic design stages of a new school project in the form of the Project Consultation Group (PCG) that comprises of at least one member of the future school community and one Principal from a neighbouring school.

With major infrastructure projects at existing schools, generally a member of the School Council or the Parents & Citizens Association is represented on the PCG.  In most cases, the schematic design of a new school or major refurbishment or replacement project at an existing school is formally presented at a community meeting.

When a school project involves co-located shared playing fields and facilities, it is recommended that forward planning is coordinated with the local government and direct liaison occurs with recreation and facilities planners.

A primary school is currently designed to the Department of Education’s standard pattern format and prescriptive brief and generally has a generic layout and footprint of buildings and facilities located on the site.  Therefore, within that constraint there is limited opportunity to significantly change the layout but with sufficient scope to make all buildings and facilities available for community use.

When primary schools are co-located with community facilities there is sufficient flexibility in the master planning process to integrate the school design particularly with shared ovals including for example, positioning car parks that can be shared by the school and the community.

With secondary school designs, the Department of Education is yet to establish a standard pattern design or layout. There’s a descriptive brief that outlines individual room requirements.

There’s sufficient scope within the design to locate buildings that can potentially have high value community use, for example a performing arts centre, along the various street frontages of the site to maximise community access.

Other facilities such as the library that could be used shared as both a community and school asset, is generally positioned centrally to the school and possibly located on the floor above the café. If the library is to be used as a community facility then it will need to be positioned on a street frontage for seamless community access.

When schools are co-located with shared open space and supporting community facilities then it is highly recommended that a facilities planner from the applicable local government authority is invited onto the PCG to ensure constructive and cooperative planning of shared facilities.

Both primary and secondary schools have a variety of general and special purpose rooms and spaces that could potentially meet community infrastructure needs.

However, early community involvement, including that of the local government will add value to informing a schools design that achieves a higher level of community benefit, functionality and serviceability.

Consideration 2: Infrastructure needs

Local governments conduct extensive research and consultation with community and sporting groups when preparing their Integrated Community Planning plans to incorporate community infrastructure and assets. A number of key indicators will also be applied in the forward planning process of infrastructures needs including:

  • Socio economic and cultural factors.
  • Financial and resource capacity planning.
  • Age and demographics.
  • Population census data and future growth projections.
  • Range of sports and activities and associated specific requirements.
  • Audit of existing facilities that can be complemented or replaced by new or upgraded infrastructure.

This analysis is used to potentially align future needs with infrastructure provisions planned accordingly in response to projected outcomes.

In regard to playing fields, many local governments are developing generic footprints that cater for a multitude of sports giving greater flexibility for a range of current and future users. These are planned at a local, district and regional level and respond to community need for a full range of nature, recreation and sporting open space uses.

Traditionally, playing fields were planned in response to specific sporting needs demonstrated by clubs and sports already active or developing within a locality. These clubs traditionally would focus towards oval sports (cricket and AFL), rectangular sports (soccer and rugby codes) or diamond sports (baseball and softball). In response, a local government would plan to develop a facility significantly catering for training and completion fields built to dimensions suitable for the required level of competition.

On the other hand infrastructure needs and accommodation schedules at schools are determined by education service delivery models and school curriculum and standards set by both State and Federal education agencies.

Infrastructure location and facilities provided ensures communities and schools have access to a broad range of assets that meet the strategic needs of all stakeholders.

Consideration 3: Location and facilities

The location of community infrastructure is determined by the size of catchment areas and the distribution of population they service. Generally, community facilities will be centralised at the local, district and regional level or located as required along major transport movement routes.

In some cases, ideally infrastructure may be best located at local government boundaries where the catchment area for a particular facility of size and functionality overlaps and traverses two local government areas. The local authorities may have jointly planned and funded (subject to the State legislation and Ministerial approval) such a facility that derives the greatest benefit for the recipient communities.

Community facilities may comprise multiple active playing fields with associated recreation or nature spaces and ancillary service infrastructure such as clubrooms, change rooms, public toilets, recreation and aquatic centres and community centres.

Community centres can offer a range of spaces and meeting rooms that can be utilised by community groups associated with schools in complementary activities.

Generally, community facilities are built to a higher performance and dimensional standard than school facilities. In some cases there are opportunities for local governments or other agencies to assist in expanding school facilities to deliver greater community benefit.

The provision of schools, as outlined previously, is determined by the lot yield of the particular locality catchment area. Primary schools are generally located at the centre of the applicable catchment area.

Centralising primary schools is supported by the statutory planning framework principles of walkable and accessible catchment arcs and boundaries.
Factors that may determine a school’s location non-central to a catchment area is an opportunity to co-locate with public open space, the proximity to transport routes and preferred integration with a neighbourhood centre. The Department of Education considers this on a case-by-case basic ensuring that the education services and outcomes can still be effectively and efficiently delivered.

In the case of new generic design primary schools, infrastructure suitable for community purposes includes:

  • General purpose learning areas.Specialist learning areas, including art and music classrooms.
  • All-weather covered assembly area with canteen to minimum commercial kitchen standard.
  • Library and resource centre.
  • General purpose meeting/conference room adjacent to the staff room.
  • Junior AFL football oval.
  • Central cricket pitch and two cricket practice nets generally attached to the hard courts and directed towards the oval (on an alignment cognisant of the arc position of the sun).
  • Multi-marked hard courts (two).
  • Various car parking areas located along street frontages around the site.

Whilst typically provided at all primary schools, playground equipment is generally located in areas of new schools that are contained within the internal lockdown fencing perimeter and are only available to the community after hours when approved activities are conducted within the lockdown. 

In an emerging trend, primary schools are increasingly being identified as suitable sites for a range of important government and community service infrastructure including child and family centres, dental therapy clinics, clinical nurse offices and parent centres. These maybe provided where the highest need has been identified or in accord with a specific plan for service delivery.

Whilst it is preferred that secondary schools are central to their catchment it is not essential. There can be shared benefits when secondary schools are co-located with local, district, neighbourhood or regional open space or local activity centres and along major transport routes.

As for primary schools, site attributes that limit the development of a secondary school site may determine where a site is to be finally located. In most cases, a secondary school is best located with significant open space and playing fields to facilitate senior recreation and sporting spaces.

New secondary schools also have a standard infrastructure provision suitable for community use that includes:

  • General purpose learning areas.
  • Specialist learning areas, including art and music classrooms, design and materials technology classrooms and workshops and food technology classrooms.
  • Performing arts centre.
  • All-weather sports hall with change rooms and toilets.
  • Café with commercial standard kitchen.
  • Library and resource centre.
  • General purpose meeting/conference room adjacent to the staff room or library.
  • Senior AFL football/cricket oval and rectangular sporting pitch.
  • Central cricket pitch and two cricket practice nets generally attached to the hard courts and directed towards the oval.
  • Eight multi-marked hard courts.
  • Various car parking areas located along street frontages around the site.

Whilst all secondary schools contain science laboratories, these are not made available to the community because of occupational health and safety issues and the requirement for compliant and qualified supervision.

By reviewing facilities provisions and their locations against community and educational needs, local governments and the Department of Education can arrange and prepare agreements and governance models that derive the greatest benefit to all stakeholders and participants.

Consideration 4: Agreements and governance

When the Department of Education and local governments decide to pursue shared arrangements to jointly develop or share resources and facilities then those arrangements should be confirmed by agreements that outline contributions, roles and responsibilities and models and methods of governance and operational requirements.

Agreements can be in the form of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), a licence agreement or a lease agreement. The terms and conditions of all Understandings and Agreements should clearly define the details and structure of the governance models and methodologies for successfully managing the joint development and use of school and community based infrastructure.

While an MOU is not a legally binding document, it is a useful instrument for confirming stakeholder commitment to the principles of jointly developing or sharing infrastructure, facilities and resources.  An MOU can be applied across a whole local government area or applied to individual schools or community and public open space sites.

Licences detail agreements particularly for the use of shared facilities and the recurrent costs associated with maintaining, managing and operating the facilities as identified in individual agreements. Likewise, leases detail agreements to physically occupy property that may have a specific shared use over and above normal or intended operational capacity.

The Department adopts three types of agreements, summarised as follows:
Written permission for use of property vested in the Minister for Education
This is a simple agreement intended for incidental and infrequent users of the facilities and resources available on school property that is deemed suitable for community use. The Principal has delegated authority to authorise this agreement under the terms and conditions as outlined in the Policy and Legislation  section.
Licence for use of property vested in the Minister for Education
This agreement is intended for not-for-profit organisations, regular and more frequent users of school property, which may wish to secure long term activities that maybe delivering scheduled or timetabled services or conducting daily or weekly activities with students and/or members of the community. Again, the Principal has delegated authority to authorise this agreement under the terms and conditions as outlined in the Policy and Legislation section. For licence periods that exceed two (2) years, only the Minister for Education retains the authority to execute such an agreement.
Deed of licence agreement (non-community use)

The Department of Education prepared this Deed in response to a number of commercial entities, which are currently conducting profitable businesses on school sites. This is available at page 

For example there is a growing demand to conduct non-recreational activities, such as farmers markets, in addition recreational activities, such as personal fitness instruction and boot camps, on school premises.

Whilst members of the community can buy produce from stall holders or pay fees for fitness classes, the agreed user, who is a party to the agreement, is essentially ‘non-community’ and potentially operating a business well beyond the immediate community where the school is located.

The Principal has delegated authority to execute this agreement under the terms and conditions as outlined in the Policy and Legislation section. For licence periods that exceed two years, the Minister has sole authority for executing a Deed.

Consideration 5: Maintenance and improvements

It is essential that facilities used by school students and members of the community are maintained to an appropriate standard and in strict compliance with all the current and applicable building, health and safety standards.

It is imperative that maintenance standards are set very early in the facilities planning process and the responsibility for maintenance, the structured and programmed regimes and benchmark standards are clearly established. This ensures the facilities remain usable and functional at all times. The conventional facility management maintenance regimes include:

Breakdown repairs (or run to failure)

A breakdown is a sudden or unforeseen failure of infrastructure plant or equipment and is generally repaired urgently if it prevents the use of a facility.

Preventative (scheduled or corrective) maintenance

The conduct of systematic inspections and assessments prevents the premature failure of infrastructure, plant and equipment, thereby limiting breakdowns.

Routine maintenance

Intended to routinely address compliance with new standards and regulations or updates and amendments to existing ones, ensuring safe and healthy environments.

General restoration

Repair or replacement, prior to breakdown, of building elements that are approaching or have exceeded expected life cycle periods.


Infrastructure, plant, equipment and service upgrades increase capacity to support new systems and technologies that improves functionality and utilisation.

It is imperative a detailed maintenance program plan is established which incorporates the intended users and operating hours of the shared facilities to avoid disrupting organised activities.

For example, it is recommended a local government oval shared with a school shouldn’t be mowed or sprayed during the normal operating hours of the school or during a scheduled sports carnival.

Equally, for example, it is recommended that school hard courts shared by a community netball club, shouldn’t be resurfaced or repaired during the netball season.

In all cases, common sense and the health and wellbeing of students and community members should prevail.  It is also imperative that maintenance regimes and associated actions are addressed proactively and not reactively.

School facilities are maintained on behalf of the Department of Education of by BMW in accordance with applicable standards and within annual budgetary constraints. BMW devolve all school maintenance work to contracted facilities managers, which arrange for head or sub-contractors to undertake all maintenance.

The Department of Education uses contracted cleaning and gardening staff and procures contracts for other grounds maintenance work such as mowing.  It should be noted that some maintenance regimes at schools differ in frequency from that of local government.

Local governments may have their own maintenance workforce, also equipped with the necessary plant and equipment.  It is expected that maintenance of shared local government infrastructure, particularly playing fields, occurs more frequently because community use is generally much higher than at a school-based facility.

To cope with a higher frequency of use, local government playing fields in particular are maintained to a much higher standard than school fields in compliance with public liability obligations and active sporting club and association requirements.

A crucial component of any shared use agreement should include sufficient time for by all parties to carry out the necessary ongoing maintenance to shared facilities aligning with all standards, codes and regulations. The life of facilities may be extended if accessibility, serviceability and functionality can be maintained to support regular and unencumbered use in an agreed level of use and serviceability.

Improvements could be in the form of an upgrade to the power supply and electrical services of a shared use facility to accommodate new information technologies or a mechanical plant and equipment replacement program. It is critical that improvements are prioritised to address public welfare issues such as, for example, amendments to the Australian Glazing Standards that requires the replacement of all floor level glass with new compliant safety glass.

Well maintained and regularly improved shared facilities will guarantee uninterrupted operations and utilisation rates that benefits communities and schools and maximises the return on government investments.

Consideration 6: Operations and utilisation

The operational management procedures of shared facilities must also be established well before those new or existing facilities commence operating. Booking protocols and regimes must be in place to provide both schools and communities with certainty and understanding to ensure prioritised and pre-scheduled use delivers the desired educational, recreational and social outcome benefits.

Lines of communication between all facility stakeholders will be an important factor in achieving a high level of satisfaction between all users.

Planning rationale

It is critical that joint arrangements achieve the best possible return on the considerable investment that all parties will be committing to. At the core of these arrangements, is the shared benefit of promoting and encouraging physical activity and recreation directly within the school community and the broader community. 

In order to justify potential investment it is helpful to have access to more information around the added value that the development of community sport and recreation infrastructure can bring to students and the broader community, particularly the benefits of PE and sport to educational attainment and health in the community.

From a planning context, crucial matters need consideration to ensure the long term success of a shared use arrangement. 

Build strong financial foundations

The long term viability of shared use facilities contained on both school sites and community open space will require a strong and stable financial foundation that should be both equitable and sufficient to sustain the facilities. Capital cost commitments contained within the business case must ensure the shared facilities can be delivered to the required and agreed scope and standard.

There must also be adequate recurrent cost funding to ensure the facilities continue to be maintained to the highest possible standard and amenity to continue to attract committed users that will sustain the operation of the facilities.

The extent and quantum of recurrent costs must be established well in advance of the permitted use of existing school and community facilities and the handover and activation of new shared facilities. The terms and conditions of any joint agreement should confirm mechanisms that will calculate and quantify any cost increases generated by inflation or CPI adjustments due to increases in labour and material costs.

Build on experience

It is important that parties entering into joint arrangements draw on previous knowledge and experience gained from both within and without each other’s organisations during and after the delivery of completed projects and executed agreements. Ongoing review of the performance, operation and management of shared facilities will enable continuous improvement and a proactive response to changing or increasing demands.

When engaging consultants to assist with the planning of shared facilities, it is critical that successful applicants demonstrate extensive experience with the design and delivery of community, school and shared facilities.

In the operation and management of shared facilities, there are specialist organisations that can advise on the efficient and effective function of leisure and recreation centres that may include shared components and areas.

Build partnerships

Engaging and working with potential users can build long term partnerships that ensure the right blend of facilities are provided and they are utilised to maximum capacity.  Suitable partners may include other government agencies, local governments, sporting associations and clubs, community groups, not-for-profit organisations and in some cases commercial operators.

Potential partners will often be aware of the local community sport and recreation market within a given area and will be able to give advice on how the local school facilities could supplement or complement existing local sporting and physical activity programs.  

The information provided by partners will be crucial in developing an appropriate program and cost structure.

Build capacity

Sufficient capacity can be built by consolidating facilities or identifying specific facilities that can complement or supplement each other. A combination of facilities with varying levels of finish, size or amenity may satisfy the community and the school’s current and future recreational needs.    

Build on existing strengths

In most cases, it is unlikely facilities contained on a school site, in combination with facilities located on adjoining open space will be able to satisfy every community need or demand. If early planning is sound then both facilities should respond to the demands that were determined at the time that forward planning was conducted.

Planning to include some flexibility will allow the facilities to respond to future changing demands. Particular sports that have both a school-based and a community-centred focus should underpin the main shared use activities, with the facilities responding to support these priority activities. 

Managing and maintaining shared use facilities

Maintaining facilities to an appropriate standard that supports continuous and safe use is a critical element in the orderly and responsible governance of shared use facilities either on school or open space sites.

The success or failure of shared facilities will be dependent on the arrangements that have been put in place that clearly outline the proportional contribution of each party or stakeholder to maintain functional and usable facilities in order to provide a safe and healthy recreation environment.

Clearly defining and assigning the apportionment costs to the responsible parties will avoid conflict between the owners of the facilities and third party users or partners. Apportionment should be based on fairness and equity and could be divided, for example, on the basis of a percentage of annual use or on the basis of the area of facility provided that is over and above the standard provision, particularly where facilities are consolidated, enhanced or expanded.

The details of such arrangements must be established well in advance of and prior to the completion and operation of shared facilities to guarantee that good governance practices can be initiated once the facilities are available for third party use. 

Asset management

Facility maintenance is one component of asset management. Effective asset management will ensure that the assets are managed and maintained effectively to support service delivery.  Ordinarily asset management decisions reside with the agencies that control or own the assets. It is important that the full costs of providing, operating and maintaining assets are reflected in budgets and business plans. Asset management has cost implications for the facility owner and it is important the maintenance of shared use community facilities on school sites is recognised by local governments and community organisations contributing to the cost.

Allowing for the full cost

In the initial phase of the project, the business case for shared community facilities should address and apportion the cost to each party of maintenance, including the full cost of maintenance and the future upgrade of equipment, buildings or facilities. However, this has implications for the overall cost of a community facility and can act as a barrier to a project successfully acquiring capital and recurrent funding.

Facility maintenance and use definitions

The following definitions are used to describe the main components of a shared use facility which need to be addressed in determining costs attributable to individual user groups:

Interior building envelope
The interior envelope includes floors, drywall, paint, interior fixtures, gymnasium furnishings (goals, nets, rims, wall padding), cabinetry, appliances, duct work, sound systems, shades, doors, hardware, alarm systems and IT systems.
Exterior building envelope
The exterior envelope is defined as the structural components of the building and includes roofs, walls, doors, hardware, windows and foundation. It also includes ceilings, insulation, electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC, roofs and roof drainage systems and exterior lighting fixtures attached to the building.
Custodial services/supplies
Custodial services include the regular cleaning, supplies and upkeep of the facility and custodial services for set up/take down for special events. The level of service must meet the program capacity engaged at the facility.
Solid waste/recycling
Includes the removal of rubbish and recycling items from identified areas to the appropriate disposal location.
Litter clean-up
Litter clean-up involves the removal or disposal of rubbish, debris and items left from events taking place at a shared facility as a consequence of non—education activities as agreed.
Site lighting
Site lighting maintenance is the necessary upkeep of all lighting associated with the facility including bulb replacement, fixture repair, painting and replacement if necessary.
Shared use spaces
Each shared use space is managed by the owner of the space.
Mowing/landscaping operations
The school site will be mown at frequencies prescribed in their assigned level of service, including any landscaping maintenance depending upon the impacts of shared use.
Maintenance considerations
The appearance of a facility, including its cleanliness will impact significantly on its use and capability. Surfaces, fittings, equipment, air conditioning and grounds need to be maintained regularly and thoroughly by agreement with all parties. Where a facility is the subject of shared use it is particularly important to ensure all parties understand their obligations and ongoing maintenance commitments. There’s a wide variation throughout Australia in how buildings and playing pitches are managed. In some instances the council/school assume full control for usage. In other cases the responsibility for planning and overseeing usage is passed over to the user groups. 

The table below suggests maintenance responsibilities for buildings and associated open space infrastructure.

Suggested maintenance responsibilities for building and associated open space infrastructure

ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Main building frame, foundations, stumps, bearers, joists, brickwork etcAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to structural failure, storm damage, decay, insect attack or fair wear and tear.
WaterService authorities/all damages by users.Replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear and tree root damage.
SewerageService authorities/contractor. Blockages caused by user group activities.Replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear and tree root damage.
GasService authorities/all damages by users.Replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear and tree root damage.
ElectricityService authorities/all damages by users.Replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear.
SecurityCost of call outsMonitoring and replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear and equipment.
TelephoneService authoritiesMonitoring and replacement/repairs due to fair wear and tear and equipment.
Drainage and plumbing
ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Storm water and general drainageAll damages and blockages in waste pipes caused by user activities.Blockages due to tree roots and subsidence. Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
Guttering including down pipesAll damages caused by users.Programmed cleaning and replacement/ repair due to fair wear and tear.
Internal blockages - sinks, toilets, etcAll damages caused by users.Replacement/repair due to structural failure, storm damage or fair wear and tear.
Plumbing fixturesAll damages by users and blockages in waste pipes caused by user activities.Replacement and repair due to malfunction or fair wear and tear, e.g. washers and leaking cisterns.
Gas heating including screen, flue, gas plumbing and hot water service.All damages by user and cyclical.Replacement/repair due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.


ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Fixtures (i.e. stove, exhaust/fan)All damages by users.Replacement/repair due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
Wiring and fittings (i.e. power boards and switchesAll damages by users.All wiring from main supply and including the switchboard, light fittings and emergency lighting.
Portable appliances (i.e. kettle, toaster, fridge, microwave etc)All damages by users.Replacement/repair of fittings due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
Lights (i.e. globes, bulbs, starters, tubes, diffusers and coverings)All damages by users.Replacement/repair of fittings due to globes, starters and diffusers.
ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Painting throughout (ceilings, walls, doors and internal frames)All damages by users.Full responsibility. Replacement/repair of fittings due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
Insulation (walls, ceilings)All damages by users.Full responsibility.
CeilingAll damages by users.Replacement/repair of fittings due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
WallsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair of fittings due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
Floor coverings (i.e. tiles, carpet etc)All damages by users.Replacement/repair of fittings due to malfunction or fair wear and tear including and if coverings become a trip hazard.
Exposed wooden floor coverings/sprung floorsAll damages by users.Sealing/polishing as required.
Replacement of floor at the end of its useful life.
Windows, frames, internal doors and door furnitureAll damages by users (including glazing,Minor adjustments due to normal repairing holes etc) movement and replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.Minor adjustments due to normal movement and replacement/repair.
Wall tilesAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
CleaningAll damages by users.Full responsibility.
Smoke detectorsAll damages by users.Replacement of batteries (6 monthly).
Replacement of hard wired smoke alarms due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.
Emergency lightingAll damages by users.Full responsibility.
GlassKeep clean and replacement of damage due by usersReplacement of external breakages to vandalism.
Airconditioning and evaporative coolingAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to malfunction or fair wear and tear.


ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Furniture, equipment and shelvingNegotiated responsibility.Negotiated responsibility.
Curtains and blindsNegotiated responsibility.Negotiated responsibility.
Built-in cupboards, benches, drawers and doorsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear (through council’s/school's cyclical renewal program).
Coat pegs, towel rails, soap and paper towel dispensers, toilet roll holders, partition walls, mirror and toilet seatsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
External maintenance
ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Exterior lights on buildings (security lights, floodlights (excluding sports ground training lights)General domestic globe replacement.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear and malfunction (including replacement of external security globes).
Windows, frames and door framework (including glass, fly screens, blinds and security screens)All damages by users.Minor adjustment due to normal building movement, shrinkage etc. Painting/staining of external wooden framework. Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
Doors and frames (including locks and glass)All damages by users (including full cost of loss of keys by users).Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear and vandalism.
Automatic doorsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear and vandalism.
PaintingAll damages by users.Cyclic maintenance by council/school on main sports pavilion.
Handrail, steps and rampsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
Fencing, gates and shedsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
Building damage due to vandalism and graffitiFull responsibility.Full responsibility.
Infestation by birds, animals and insectsFull responsibility.Replacement of damage caused.


ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
Soft fall, play equipment, garden beds, paving, localised drainage and surrounds.All damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.



ConsiderationsUser/occupier responsibilitiesResponsibilities
TreesAll damages by users.Full responsibility.
Grass cuttingAll damages by users.Full responsibility as per agreed regular maintenance cycles.
Car parks - sealed and unsealedAll damages by users.Full responsibility (including car park lighting).
Sports training lights, coaches boxes, interchange boxes, batting cages, dugouts, sight screens, synthetic wicketsAll damages by users.Replacement/repair due to fair wear and tear.
Cleaning/upkeep of surrounding areaFull responsibility from activities.Normal maintenance program.
Drainage pits (carpark and surrounds)All damages by users.Full responsibility.

Suggested playing field maintenance: recurrent grounds maintenance implications

The table below highlights grounds maintenance works which may be required for three categories of playing field provision. Category A would be the high performance facility which is predominantly used for State level competition and above. Category B would be for general competitive play for school and district level competition. Category C is for casual sport and recreational use. The table also includes reference to turf wickets for cricket which require a higher standard of intensive maintenance. Additional considerations are also referenced for those aspects of pitch maintenance and potential land owner obligations which have to be built into the ongoing cost implications.

Ground maintenance worksCategory ACategory BCategory C
Soil managementMaintain a high free draining soil composition to a depth of 150mm.
Programmed replacement of top 150mm soil every 15 years.
Maintain a good draining soil composition to a depth of 150mm.
Programmed replacement of top 100mm soil every 24 years.
Local topsoil placed on playing field sub-base, which has been shaped to allow natural drainage of surface water.
Reconstruction of playing surface every 50 years.
Grass managementHealthy grass year-round capable of withstanding sporting activities.
Maintain 95% coverage.
De-thatching of grass every 2 years.
Healthy grass year-round capable of withstanding sporting activities.
Maintain 85% coverage.
De-thatching of grass every 3 years.
Healthy grass year-round capable of withstanding sporting activities.
Maintain 75% coverage.
MowingGrass height for cricket:
Match days: 20-30mm.
Other: 20-50mm.
Grass height for football/other:
Summer match days 20-35mm.
Summer other; 30-50mm.
Winter match days 40-65mm.
Winter other; 50-80mm.
Grass height:
Summer season; 25-60mm.
Winter season; 50-80mm.
Grass height:
Summer season; 25-70mm.
Winter season; 50-90mm.
WeedingRetain even quality grass sward free from weed infestation that would be greater than 5% of grass coverage.Avoid weed spreading over areas greater than 10% of grass coverage.Avoid spreading over large area.
Litter controlRemove all visible litter at time of mowing.Remove all visible litter at time of mowing.Remove all visible litter at time of mowing.
Surface finishRepair all visible ruts, depressions etc > 40mm in depth.Repair all visible ruts, depressions etc > 40mm in depth.Repair all visible ruts, depressions etc > 40mm in depth.
Automatic sprinkler systemAll sprinkler heads working as programmed and with a repair time of 48 hours from notification of outages.
Programmed replacement of system every 15 years.
All sprinkler heads working as programmed and with a repair time of 5 hours from notification of outages.
Programmed replacement of system every 24 years.
Sub-surface drainage systemSub-surface drainage to provide a playing surface free of surface water ponds for periods longer than 5 minutes after heavy rain.Sub-surface drainage to provide with free draining sand based soil over the immediate drainage trenches only to produce a playing surface free of surface water ponds over extended periods.
Programmed replacement of system every 12 years.
MowingPitch grass on match days to be between 4-6mm.
Surrounding wicket table 20-30mm.
Grass managementFertilising, watering, topdressing, weeding and other maintenance is undertaken, as required, to provide optimum grass growth of consistently green colour and free from weeds, pests or disease.
Litter controlRemove all visible litter at time of mowing.
Surface finishRepair all visible ruts, depressions >5mm on prepared pitches.
Repair all visible ruts, depressions >20mm on wicket tables.

Additional considerations

Additional considerations
Line markingLine marking must be carried out using a suitable marking paint.
GoalsThe maintenance, installation and removal of goals used in the conduct of competition for all seasonal sports will be the responsibility of council /school.
Car parks, access roads and drainageThe maintenance of car parks and access roads and associated drainage is the responsibility of council /school.
Public toiletsToilets that are open to the public will be maintained by Council/School.This includes free standing public toilet blocks and pavilions.
Process of reporting maintenance itemsThe nominated contacts of a user group should notify council/school immediately.
Notice of defectsA notice of defect and rectification will be issued to user groups where damage has been made to any facilities.
Emergency assistanceProvision of after-hours emergency service to be provided as a contact for any building rectification matters.

Maintenance: cost models

Equitable contributions to maintenance

Equitable contributions to maintenance should be clearly defined. In all shared use arrangements there’s a need to agree on an appropriate standard and cost of maintenance. This can vary considerably between providers.

In respect of the Department of Education school facilities, maintenance arranged by the Department of Education is coordinated by BMW on its behalf and then directs the work to contracted facilities managers. This can be at a higher cost than what an LGA can incur by using its own maintenance staff and may not meet the standards acceptable to a local government. In many local government circumstances full cost recovery is not achievable on most community facility sites.

The extent of agreed capital and recurrent costs contributed by parties to the provision, development and/or use of infrastructure within a Shared Use Agreement is set out below.

Cost: apportionment of maintenance for local government

The cost of maintaining sports facilities and playing fields vary significantly and is subject to a wide range of factors relating to usage, ground conditions, supporting infrastructure and climate. In general it is likely that a full cost recovery model with shared user groups may not be achievable. In such circumstances a local government will be required to establish an effective cost apportionment model which recognises a user groups ability to pay and the intended community/social benefit of providing the service. This will require a process which attributes equitable cost parameters which are transparent and consistent and be relevant to:

  • Field/facility quality and maintenance standards, not just size.
  • The ability for sports organisations to pay.
  • A clearer understanding of the costs which must be recovered by local government through fees.
  • The need to keep sports affordable for children and youth.Utilisation rates and capacity of infrastructure to maintain an agreed level (hours) of use.
  • Maintenance levels required to satisfy individual sports needs.

Governing shared use facilities

The management and day-to-day operations of a shared use facility is a vital component of the delivery of a resource which meets the needs of the community it is intended to serve.

The quality and capability of the management can be the biggest influence on the cost and viability of a facility for individuals and organisations. It is important to ensure the management of a facility is responsive to the size and capability of the shared use facility. 

For example: 

  • For a small scale facility which services a limited number (two to four prime users), it may be possible to manage the facility through a management committee or board, where cost can be kept to a minimum. 
  • For a small to medium scale facility where usage can be readily controlled and delegated to one main occupant (ie a council run facility), it may be possible to have one employee with overall responsibility for operational matters who reports directly to a committee or board. 
  • For a larger scale facility where the facility is required to service a variety of users with multiple demands. This requires a relatively sophisticated and heavily-resourced management set up. 

The governance structures need to be determined on a case by case basis having regard to: 

  • The principle funders and funding partners associated with the facility. 
  • The reporting requirements of the responsible body for whom the requirement to meet community needs and agreed outcomes rests. 
  • Asset management and maintenance obligations. 
  • Agreed responsibilities and delegated decision making. 

Governance structures

In addition to the choice of a management body and/or process, every shared community facility must be supported by an appropriate governance structure. 

A governing body is the legal entity responsible and accountable for decisions in relation to: 

  • Ownership and management of the physical asset. 
  • Operations, programs and activities that take place within the building. 

The operations of a shared community facility are in turn managed by people employed or acting on behalf of the governing body through agreement. 

Good governance

Good governance provides for sound decision making and accountability. The State of Victoria Department of Education and Child Development has identified eight principles of good governance for shared facility partnerships which are applicable to good governance across shared use facilities in Western Australia. 

These are identified as: 


To ensure that decisions are based on clear criteria and are able to be scrutinised as being impartial and fair to all potential users. 


Responsibilities are clearly defined and allocated to each partner. 


Each partner and stakeholders have input into the operation of the partnership and the facility. 


There is a shared understanding of the objectives and management of the partnership. 


The partnership is able to respond to change in circumstances and is sufficiently agile to adapt to new opportunities. 

Effectiveness and efficiency

The shared use of facilities can be sustained within the resources available and may achieve the optimum outputs from both a financial and social return on investment. 

Integrity and stewardship

The project is delivered within the legal framework and is ethical. 


All partners are responsible for the leadership and delivery of the project. 

The failure of shared use agreements normally occurs where the above governance protocols are not adhered to. It is essential that when a shared use agreement is being considered, the various elements are appropriately covered and underpin each partner’s objectives.

Legal entities

There are a variety of legal entities which can be considered in the development of a shared use community facility. All legal entities have strengths and weaknesses and may be used for the governance of shared community facilities. All have the capability of providing the required levels of accountability, decision making, performance management and review. However the decision of which legal entity to use is dependent on the extent of facilities which are to be made available for shared use and the level of involvement of different partners in ensuring that the shared use will deliver the desired outputs. 

Where more than one legal entity comes together to manage a shared use facility this may give rise to difficulties (ie different objectives, reporting requirements and financial performance). Where this occurs a number of questions will need to be posed: 

  • What legal entities will be involved in the facility? 
  • What are their roles and responsibilities? 
  • Is there an agreed method of working model under which the shared use of facilities can be managed? 
  • What documents will be used to confirm these agreements? 

In most cases it will be necessary to create a new legal entity for the purposes of managing shared use. The type, role and responsibility of the body selected to govern a shared community facility needs to be determined with a clear understanding of the potential strengths and weaknesses of each legal entity. It also needs to have regard to the outcomes desired in delivering the shred use facility. The types of legal entity are identified and the respective benefits and challenges are listed. 

It is important when developing relationships between the legal entities in governing a shared use community facility that consider the key following aspects: 

  • Board and committee terms of reference define the purpose and structure of the shared use committee or board. This can be enhanced by representatives of the community being involved to assist in planning and policy development. 
  • Codes of conduct for committee members, including conflict of interest and procedures to outline expected conduct and integrity required of members. 
  • Roles and responsibility are clearly defined to provide direction on duties and accountabilities. 
  • Governance training is provided to assist shared use committee members in meeting their responsibilities. Representative and skilled committee members are essential for a committee/ board to run effectively. 
  • A memorandum of understanding (where necessary) is developed to document an agreement between parties, if it isn’t contained within the shared use agreement. 
  • Heads of agreement (where necessary) are drafted to provide key parameters of a proposed agreement between parties. 
  • The development of license, funding and service agreements to document relationships between legal entities to underpin the shared use arrangement. Care should be taken to minimise multiple agreements which can be difficult to manage and coordinate. 
  • Mediation and conciliation methods are identified to resolve potential conflict that arises. 

Forms of governance structures

Forms of governance structures
Legal entityOperational responsibilitiesBenefitsChallenges
PartnershipGenerally a group of individuals and/ or organisations responsible for managing a shared use facility and who may be equally liable for its debts.Often government funding will be directed towards programs and initiatives that require organisations to work together, and sometimes under the leadership of a coordinating agency.Operational and partnership agreements establish and define the governance mechanisms.It can be a legal organisation set up under formal legal documents.A familiar model in operation in government and community services sectors.
Provides association while retaining individual organisational sovereignty.
Provides mechanisms for the allocation of roles based on individual organisational capacity and capability.
There is the potential for an imbalance of power and influence between parties due to the reliance on a lead agency role and the allocation of other ‘lesser’ roles and responsibilities.This needs to be managed with care.
In many instances this model would require parties to become jointly and severally liable for the performance of the entity.
Joint venturesA joint venture is a situation in which two distinct and independent entities work together toward a common goal.Each make concessions to assist each other, but their financial and operational mechanisms remain separate.In such circumstances they are only liable for each other’s debts within the confines of the shared venture.Relatively simple to develop and commonly used for project-specific or fixed-period venture.
Two joint ventures can be established to separate asset management and operations into two legal entities, yet allow parties to retain individual sovereignty.
Participation as a joint venture partner may affect the taxation status of incorporated associated shareholders in relation to income tax exemptions.
To avoid conflict, complementary board membership between the two joint ventures should be established.
Generally more constrained as a decision making body and can be ineffective when used to manage or own assets
There may be less clarity in the objectives and partners may not be committed to the approach
Joint venture may be ineligible to receive infrastructure or other grants from state or federal government.This would need to be checked at the outset.
Company limited by guaranteeA community organisation could achieve the status of a corporation (thus achieving limited liability) by forming itself as a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001. Members guarantee to pay a fixed but nominal amount in the event of the liquidation of the company.
This can be a suitable type of legal entity for managing expenditure, income, assets and the agreements relating to them.
Unlike an incorporated association, a company limited by guarantee does not consider the interests of individual shareholder organisations and has more substantial financial, taxation and corporate reporting requirements. Such a company can operate in all states of Australia under the regulation of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
Provides a separate legal entity that can transact business in the interests of the entity
Can receive and deal with assets, bequests and donations
Can enter into commercial and contractual arrangements
Provides an independent entity that can fundraise on behalf of the company for the benefit of all participating parties.
Body corporate - acting on behalf of the schoolThese are formed by the owners of a piece of land to manage, and maintain the common areas everyone uses. There are laws that determine what they can and can’t do and the rules they can set. With freehold property, the owners’ corporation can engage professional strata management or body corporate management to manage the building on behalf of all owners.
Shared community facilities may be owned or administered through a not-for-profit, community service or related service organisation
These body corporate or statutory bodies are formed through a specific Act of parliament.
An appropriate legal entity to govern and manage facilities that are being delivered using funds provided by the body corporate.
These types of entities are typically not-for-profit or charitable organisations.
They can contribute successfully to community infrastructure projects as funders and partners.
If the facility is solely governed by this type of entity, it will have a focus on the services and activities aligned with its charter, rather than a community focus.
Co-operativeA co-operative is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily join together to meet common business, social and cultural needs through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.
The legislation governing the establishment, operation and regulation of co-operatives in Western Australia is the Co-operatives Act 2009 and the Co-operatives Regulations 2010.
Co-operatives are run on the basis of one member, one vote.
Membership is open to any person who maintains an active relationship with the co-operative.
A co-operative can be a trading or non-trading entity.
Rules stipulate the eligibility criteria for members, primary activities of the co-operative and processes used to determine the status of members.
Provides an autonomous community-focused organisation that is controlled by its members
Provides a familiar model for an association with standardised rules
The compliance costs and requirements are less than other types of legal entities.
Co-operatives are not envisaged to manage the operation of a significant asset and be responsible for the management of considerable funds
Equality of membership entitlements may not reflect the allocation of risk and responsibilities
The process of registration and approval of the co-operative’s rules is conducted by WA Department of Commerce.
Charitable trustThe Charitable Trust Act 1962 governs the provision of trusts in WA.Charitable Trust are recognised as bodies to provide, or to assist in the provision of, facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation, if the facilities are provided in the interests of social welfare (ie public benefit).
Whilst a trust is not a legal entity, but a set of relationships, it is the oldest and continuing form of legal vehicles used to conduct activities for charitable purposes.
Advantageous tax treatment is offered to charitable trusts which are conducted for the benefit of the public and not for particular individuals.
Trust deeds establish and define the purposes and governance of the trust and the role and functions of the trustee.
Relatively low establishment and compliance costs, for a vehicle that can receive and deal with assets, bequests and donations.
A familiar model used in administration of funds or assets for purposes benefitting the public.
Can fundraise on behalf of the trust for the benefit of the purposes of the trust.
The purposes of a charitable trust must be directed towards purposes that benefit the public and satisfy the meaning of charitable, which in some circumstances may preclude purposes that benefit the public but may not be classified as charitable.
The legal relationships created by the trust rely on a high degree of understanding of a few people with key responsibilities in the administration and operation of the trust.
Has the capacity for a few members to change objectives, possibly at odds with the purposes of the trust.
Incorporated AssociationThe most popular form of legal entity used by community and not-for-profit groups to form an association.
Based on a membership model, and the rules and constitution stipulate the eligibility criteria and processes used to determine who can become a member.
A familiar and commonly used entity with a standardised constitution and rules.
Incorporation processes are relatively simple and does not require extensive advice from legal professionals.
Individual members limit their exposure to personal legal liability.
The compliance costs and requirements are less than some other options and the penalties for not fully complying with these requirements are less severe.
This type of legal entity is not envisaged to effectively manage the operation of a significant asset and be responsible for the management of considerable funds.
Membership arrangements may not have sufficient rigour or flexibility in relation to the allocation of risk and responsibilities.
The process of incorporation and approval of the association’s constitution and rules is conducted by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection.

Core elements of a shared use model

Taking into account the recommended planning process, if shared use is to be considered, in particular at school sites, it is important a consistent model of development is provided to ensure consistency, openness and fairness. As stated previously any model proposed must be relevant to the community and the appropriateness of facilities which are to be included. The extent and validity of any subsequent shared use agreement will be dependent on principles established early in the development process. This will be equally valid whether the facilities have been purpose built for community use or are being considered as part of an extended development opportunity.

The following principles which have been broadly referenced in documents reviewed are considered essential in order to develop a consistent model:

Core elements of a shared use model


Provide a clear vision, strategy and objective for community use.   
PolicyEnsure that the principles of community use are embedded within an appropriately worded policy for the school or controlling body.
This should include the establishment of simple letting procedures which are clearly understood by users and providers.
PartnershipsCultivate key partnerships with clubs, associations or other organisations within the local community who have expressed a need for the facility provision being provided.   
Service provisionsEnsure the facility being offered for community use is aligned to the service provision being offered by the local government and not-for-profit sector within the catchment of the school site and does not duplicate, where possible or compete with existing community infrastructure.    
SustainabilityDetermine the most sustainable management and booking approach to ensure the most effective solution is available for the likely income to be generated.
This should determine the most appropriate management solution for the site (ie key holder arrangement, permanent local authority management structure, not-for-profit management body alternatives).
Business planningTakes into account the ongoing anticipated expenditure (maintenance, energy costs, training of staff and users, etc) and income required to offset these costs.
The business plan does not necessarily need to ensure all cost are recouped from users, but must ensure a balanced and fair approach to cost apportionment.
BudgetingEnsure that an appropriate budget is allocated within the school budget for the management of community use.   

Funding shared use facilities

Department of Education

Funding is allocated by the State Government in annual budgets to build new schools in response to population growth and associated residential development. Availability of funding is set by budgetary cycles and the priority need to announce and build schools as required.

In the case of primary schools, the project cycle from announcement to opening will be a two to three year period. For secondary schools, that period will be three to four years.  Where a school is co-located with public open space to be shared, it is quite common the development timeline for the school and the open space are not necessarily in alignment with each other.

It is quite possible that a shared oval may be constructed and in use prior to the development of the co-located school and in some cases a shared oval will be constructed in parallel with the development of a school in advance of the local government’s delivery plan.

Therefore, it is necessary to forward plan shared ovals and facilities early and prepare joint arrangements well in advance of delivery of both the subject school and the adjoining open space to be shared. It is important that all parties enter into agreements that provide certainty around future commitments to both capital cost funding for buildings, facilities and infrastructure and recurrent cost funding for maintaining and operating the same. 

The Department of Education prepares Capital Investment Plans (CIP) that identify high priority school projects that will be delivered in response to development areas and emerging communities that have the highest and most urgent need for a new school. 

Local government

A local government authority has the responsibility to ensure the orderly and sufficient provision and maintenance of public open space and community facilities and infrastructure.

The funding sources can be from developer contributions, State Government allocations, rates and income generation and from community and sporting clubs by way of DSR grants, special programs and grants and sponsorship.  

Development Contribution Plans (DCPs)

A Development Contribution Plan (DCP) is a legal arrangement between a local government authority and specified landowner(s) to share the costs involved with building new infrastructure for a specific locality or area. That infrastructure could include active and passive public open space provisions, which may be co-located with schools and is to be shared by both the school and the community.

The preparation of a DCP starts with the identification of a development area and its need for appropriate recreation and community infrastructure. Land owners in the affected area are then required to contribute towards the cost of that infrastructure, but only once an application to develop/subdivide the land has been approved.

In some cases, developers enter into agreements with local governments to develop an approved public open space in lieu of making development contributions. The joint agreement may require the developer to maintain the open space for an agreed period prior to formal handover to the local government.

Each local government will prepare a statutory contribution cost schedule for every applicable Development Contribution Area (DCA).  This process ensures that all landowners contribute equitably towards the provision of essential community facilities that may be the subject of a joint arrangement between the between the Department of Education and a local government.    

Capital Expenditure Plan (CEP)

In accordance with the requirements of State Planning Policy, a Capital Expenditure Plan (CEP) is prepared and adopted by the local government to support the Development Contribution Plans for each of the development areas. The CEP sets out the triggers and estimated time lines for the commencement and completion of each item of key DCP infrastructure, including shared ovals and facilities.

Capital Expenditure Plan for the urban growth corridor

The Schedules in a CEP may not include every infrastructure item in a relevant DCP. Those that are included are either:

  • Required to be included because they are classified as “community Infrastructure” in State Planning Policy 3.6. This applies to the active public open space and community centres; or
  • Have a trigger for the provision of an item that is reliant on ‘whole-of-DCP’ factors rather than dependent on a particular staging sequence eg progressive delivery of multiple sports ovals and playing fields when funding permits and the need is generated.

Funding, grants and sponsorships

There are a number of ways that community groups and sporting clubs can generate much-needed funds for the development and use of facilities, shared or otherwise, to enhance and promote participation, such as:

  • Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund
  • Sponsorship
  • Other grants

Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund

The Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund (CSRFF) is a funding program offered by the State Government to assist in the development of basic sporting infrastructure with a focus on increasing physical activity in the community.


Examples of some successful past projects funded by this program include:

  • Floodlighting upgrades
  • Facility redevelopments.
  • New or replacement of synthetic surfaces.

Projects like floodlighting can enhance school facilities and provide flexibility enabling extended hours of use that provides a broader community benefit.

Generally, clubs will have an opportunity to complete an Expression of Interest form that must be submitted to be eligible for funding from a local government authority.

While not exclusively limited to State-owned education facilities, funding applications for private education institutions would be considered and determined on a case-by-case basis. 


Sponsorship is often an integral part of a club to run day-to-day activities and to also keep fees as low for members as possible. Clubs must provide potential sponsors with a tangible benefit in exchange for sponsorship and remember that businesses want to be associated with clubs who have a professional and positive image. 

Shared use facilities policy and legislation

Current legislation

The following legislative acts, regulations and policies confer powers of delegated authority on the Minister for Education and school Principals that govern the use of school facilities. 

Proponents or organisations seeking to enter into a Shared Use Agreement will need to have due regard for all impacting legislative and policy frameworks relevant to the education sector.  

These statutory documents include the following:

  • School Education Act 1999 (WA) (sections 111, 112, 216, 218, 219, 220)
  • School Education Regulations 2000 (WA) (Regulations 67, 69, 70, 72, 75, 78, 98)
  • Commercial Arbitration Bill 2011 (WA)
  • Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985 (WA)
  • Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)
  • Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Regulations 2005 (WA)
  • Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA)
  • Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA).

Other related legislation, specific to planning of schools, includes:

  • Local Government Act 1995 (WA)
  • Town Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA)
  • Land Administration Act 1997 (WA)
  • Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 (WA).

The documents listed above confirm the assigned or delegated authority given to enter into an agreement permitting the use of school facilities and resources.

The School Education Act 1999 and the School Education Regulations 2000 guide the Minister and school Principals on the powers and authority conferred on them.

The essential elements of the applicable acts and regulations that govern the community use of school facilities include:

  • The Minister for Education can licence the use of school premises for periods up to 21 years and can also lease school premises for a minimum period of five (5) years.
  • Under delegated authority, a Principal can only licence the use of school premises for two (2) years and to a licence value that does not exceed $10,000 per annum.

 A Principal has authority to:

  • Give directions concerning procedures on school premises.
  • Control what is brought onto, used and consumed on school premises.
  • Permit activities on school premises not directly related to education.
  • Empower authorised staff to order people to leave school premises.
  • Prohibit entry of a person onto school premises.

Other relevant acts and statutory documents that inform shared use planning and development include:

  • Town Planning and Development Act 2005 (WA)
  • Land Administration Act 1997 (WA)
  • Building Act 2011 (WA)
  • Liquor Control Act 1988 (WA)
  • Government Land Policy No. 4.1.5 (WA)
  • Government Land Bulletin No. 7 2012 (WA)
  • Land Valuers Licensing Act 1978 (WA)
  • Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 (WA)
  • Local Government Act 1995 (WA)
  • Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth)
  • Contaminated Sites Act 2003 (WA)
  • Environmental Protection Act 1986 (WA).

Guiding policies

There are also a number of existing policies that provide the guiding principles for shared use planning. The policies include: 

State Planning Policy 3.6 – Development Contributions for Infrastructure (Western Australian Government 2009)

Establishes the principles that apply to the provision of community infrastructure in established and emerging suburbs by way of contributions equitably shared by all developers. 

Livable Neighbourhoods: Element 8 – Schools (Western Australian Government 2007) Update

Provides planning guidance on the provision, co-location and interaction of school sites, community facilities and public open space. 

Development Control Policy DC 2.3 – Public Open Space in Residential Areas (Western Australian Planning Commission 2002)

Confirms the requirement to provide free-of-cost 10% public open space (nature, recreation or sporting typology) of any gross subdividable area. 

Development Control Policy DC 2.4 – School Sites (Western Australian Planning Commission 1998)

Confirms the need, location and frequency of schools and the requirements schools are co-located with public open space. 

Government Land Policy 4.1.5 (Western Australian Government)

Affords protection over public open space (section 20A “public recreation” reserves from private interests). 

Community Use of School Facilities and Resources (Department of Education 2008)

Confirms that school Principals must make school property, facilities and resources available for approved use by the community. 

Alcohol on School Premises (Department of Education 2008) 

Confers the responsibility on school Principals for granting permission for alcohol to be sold, supplied or consumed on schools premises in accord with the Liquor Control Act. 

Occupational Safety and Health (Department of Education 2008)

Provides practical advice on maintaining safe and healthy teaching and learning environments on school property. 

Risk and Business Continuity Management (Department of Education 2008)

Outlines assessment and management protocols for minimising or mitigating risk to students, teachers and the community, whilst on school property. 

School Security (Department of Education 2008)

Guides implementation of security measures to create a safe environment and the protection of school property. 

Smoking in the Workplace (Department of Education 2008) 

Restricts smoking on school property in compliance with the relevant act and regulations. 

Working with Children Checks (Department of Education 2004)

Confirms employees in child-related work require a valid check in compliance with the relevant Act. 

Financial Management in School Assets and Resources Manual (Department of Education 2008)

Guides and assists schools to manage school finances. 

Financial Management in Schools Finance and Accounting Manual (Department of Education 2008)

Outlines procedures that schools apply to their financial management practices. 

Insurance and Claims Management (Department of Education 2008)

Provides schools with an overview of insurance coverage and claim procedures. 

Insurance Certificates of Currency (Department of Education 2008)

Confirms level of insurance coverage as affected by RiskCover (Western Australian Government Treasury Managed Fund). 

Glossary of terms

Administrative costs
The expenditures required to manage the operations and capital costs associated with the decision making, management and oversight of school facilities.
Building depreciation schedule
The determination is based on the quality of design, materials and construction quality of the average life expectancy of major building systems, components and structure. For example, if schools are built of brick, with tiled roofs, concrete floors and tile interior wall hallways, they may be considered to have 80 year life. If they are built with block, VCT floors, built up roof and sheet rock hallways, they would be considered to have a 30 year life.
Business plan
A plan that articulates business goals and the practical steps involved in reaching those goals. It includes a description of the proposed business, a comprehensive breakdown of costs and revenues, an overview of the market in which the business will operate and the process by which its objectives will be achieved. A shared-facility partnership project should develop a business plan that incorporates each partner’s operational constraints, such as review or reporting requirements.  
Capital cost basis
The type of valuation used for determining the capital cost of ownership – either current replacement value of buildings or a five year average of actual capital expenditures and related capital costs, such as interest and management of the capital program.
Capital costs
The expenditures associated with the purchase, construction and or capital renewal of facilities OR the current replacement value of the facilities.
Casual use
Availability for any individual or group to book part of the facilities at relatively short notice, for use on a pay-as-you-play basis.
Civic users
The entities or individuals from the local community who use the school facilities for civic purposes, such as voting, community meetings, informal recreation and shelter in an emergency.
Community core period
Nominally 6pm – 10pm on weekdays during school term time, 9am – 10pm on weekdays during school holidays and 9am – 6pm on weekends.
Community users
The non-profit entities or other public agencies that use the school facilities whose primary purpose is to provide programs and/or services that serve the local neighbourhood or community, but are not explicitly designed and operated to advance the academic success of the children in the school.
A set of rules that a group of people have made and agreed upon that govern an association’s internal management. These rules need to be documented, stating the powers and functions of a legal entity. Drafting an appropriate constitution is a critical starting point for any community organisation.
Exclusive use
A space within a school/community facility or its grounds which can be made available to the community on an exclusive use basis. In such instances a formal lease or licence may be appropriate. This is only undertaken in exceptional circumstances.
Heads of agreement
A nonbinding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative or planned partnership or other agreement. Similar to a Memorandum of Understanding, the agreement provides the key parameters of a proposed agreement between parties.
Holiday peak use period
Nominally during school holidays 9am – 7pm on weekdays and 9am – 11am on weekends.
Joint use agreement
The legal documentation of an arrangement whereby a school and one or more partner organisations come together to plan, build and in some cases jointly manage a facility that is to be used by the school and community groups or organisations.
Joint venture agreement
A contractual agreement between two or more business partners to assume a common strategy on a project. All partners generally agree to share the profits and losses through their common shareholdings.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
A measure of performance commonly used by an organisation to define and evaluate its progress towards meeting long-term organisational goals. In relation to shared community facilities, a set of KPIs should relate to the vision and community priorities.
Lease agreement
A contract calling for the lessee (user) to pay the lessor (owner) for use of an asset. It also outlines the obligations of each party with respect to building use, security arrangements, maintenance and cleaning responsibilities.
Licence agreement
A contract that sets out the terms and conditions under which a licensor grants a license to a licensee in exchange for compensation. In the context of a school as a shared community facility, it is the legal documentation of an arrangement whereby an organisation uses a government school site on a regular basis.
Memorandum of understanding
A document describing an agreement between parties. It sets out shared ideas and roles, responsibilities and timeframes agreed between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is not a legally binding document, but it may indicate an intention to enter into future legally binding arrangements.
Operating costs
The expenditures required to use a facility safely and in accordance with best practice with regard to utilities, custodial services, event set up, security and maintenance and repair.
Peak use period
Nominally during school term time 7pm – 10pm weekdays and 11am – 6pm on weekends.
Priority use
Generally priority use is allocated by agreement between the shared use parties. On school sites educational programs will have absolute priority in the use of school facilities and equipment during school hours. In other cases priority use may be allocated in accordance with an agreed priority based on predetermined clubs/community groups/activities, ratepayers and other approved organisations.
Private users
The entities, for profit or non-profit who are using the facility to raise revenue.
Program partners
The non-profit entities or other public agencies that use the school facilities whose primary purpose is to provide programs and/or services that are designed and operated to advance the academic success of the children in the school.
School premises
The land and buildings provided and used for the education purposes of the school.
Sports development
Initiate a program of activities aimed at attracting and sustaining the interest of new participants in sport with the overall objective of establishing or encouraging long term behavioural change.
Share dedicated to facilities
The percent of the administrative expenditure which is related to the decision making, management or oversight of school facilities.
Shared use agreement
An agreement between two or more parties to use a shared space or facility. As with a joint use, lease or licence agreement, it outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties with respect to the shared facilities and can include security arrangements, maintenance and cleaning responsibilities.
Terms of reference
Used to describe the purpose and structure of a project, committee, meeting or negotiation and can include information about the membership and roles of office bearers. It may also contain information about the group’s responsibilities, reporting obligations to other bodies, decision making authority and time constraints.
Total gross floor area (GFA)
The total gross square metres of all buildings in the shared facility which the cost elements in Cost of Ownership apply to.
Total site square meterage (SM)
The total land area encompassed by each district facility totalled in either GSF or acres.
Total usable hours per year
The total number of hours that the district operates its school facilities such that they can be occupied by administrative staff and/or teachers and students. For instance, where the school can be occupied five days a week, 10 hours a day for 50 weeks, then the total usable hours is 2500.
Vision statement

An aspirational description of what an organisation or community hopes to achieve in the mid-term or long-term future. It provides the framework for all future or strategic planning and may apply to an entire community, part of a community or a project.

Shared use facilities resources

There are a number of resources available for interested parties, who wish to engage with the Department of Education or individual schools for the purpose of using existing facilities or planning to share and use facilities at a future school.

These range from documents to confirm current and future intentions (Memorandum of Understanding), agreements that allow the incidental or regular use of school facilities (Licence to Use), long term joint arrangements for shared use (Licence Agreement) and where it is proposed that activities are conducted or services provided on school premises that are commercial in nature (Deed of Licence).

The Department of Education has also developed a number of guideline documents that outline the planning requirements for primary and secondary schools. Both these documents are referenced to existing statutory planning documents prepared by the Department of Planning. 


Checklist for shared use
VisionProvide a clear vision, strategy and objective for community use   
PolicyEnsure that the principles of community use are embedded within an appropriately worded policy for the school or controlling body.
This should include the establishment of simple letting procedures which are clearly understood by users and providers.
PartnershipsCultivate key partnerships with clubs, associations or other organisations within the local community who have expressed a need for the facility provision being provided.   
Service provisionEnsure the facility being offered for community use is aligned to the service provision being offered by the local government and not-for-profit sector within the catchment of the school site and does not duplicate, where possible or compete with existing community infrastructure.   
SustainabilityDetermine the most sustainable management and booking approach to ensure the most effective solution is available for the likely income to be generated.
This should determine the most appropriate management solution for the site (ie key holder arrangement, permanent local authority management structure, not-for-profit management body alternatives).
Business planningTakes into account the ongoing anticipated expenditure (maintenance, energy costs, training of staff and users, etc) and income required to offset these costs.
The business plan does not necessarily need to ensure all cost are recouped from users, but must ensure a balanced and fair approach to cost apportionment.
BudgetingEnsure that an appropriate budget is allocated within the school budget for the management of community use.   

Memorandum of Understanding

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a useful document that enables interested parties to make a joint statement of current intention to work collaboratively for the provision of shared facilities, which can be on and/or adjacent to a school site.

Whilst an MOU is not legally or contractually binding, it is a valuable mechanism for confirming each parties commitment to sharing facilities and making better use of public infrastructure. An MOU can be applied to:

  • An individual school, either existing or new.
  • A number of schools, both existing or new, in a defined development area or growth corridor.
  • All existing or new schools contained within a specific local government area.

The duration of an MOU can be for a long period to ensure that there is an ongoing commitment by all parties. The terms of the MOU should be flexible enough to allow the document to be updated or amended as new issues emerge or circumstances change requiring a realignment of purpose or direction.A generic draft MOU has been provided as a guiding template for preparing a suitable arrangement that is tailored to meet specific locations or requirements.

Licence agreement

The Department of Education and a Local Government Authority will enter into an agreement to jointly fund and maintain shared facilities that could either be located on Education land and/or Local Government land.  These agreements confirm agreed equitable cost apportionment and operational and financial arrangements that ensure efficient and effective management of shared facilities.

Licence agreements are used for joint arrangements for facilities such as sports ovals, playing fields, multi- marked hard courts and sports halls or recreation centres.

A generic agreement is provided as a guide for preparing a site or facility specific joint arrangement. Terms and conditions will vary subject to issues such as locality, availability and costs of service infrastructure and local area maintenance costs. 

Cost sharing schedule

Cost sharing specialist
ItemsArea (m2, m3),
length (m), quantity (Unit)
(Yes, No, Maybe)
contribution (%)
Associated amenity
Bike rackQtyNoN/AN/A
Chairs and tablesQtyMaybe50%Does not form part of the standard brief provisions for a school.
Shelters and shadeQtyMaybe50%Does not form part of the standard brief provisions for a school.
GazebosQtyMaybe50%Does not form part of the standard brief provisions for a school.
Water fountainsQtyMaybe50%Does not form part of the standard brief provisions for a school.
WastebinsQtyYes50%Does not form part of the standard brief provisions for a school.
Exercise equipmentNoN/AN/A 
Goal posts and sleevesQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Soccer goalsQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Basketball backboards/hoops and netball postsQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Tennis nets and postsQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Cricket practice netsQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Cricket pitches and coverQtyYes50%Standard provision for a school
Car parkingQtyMaybe (There is potential for developing cross boundary parking areas for increasing out of school hour capacity and amenity during school hours.)
Chain mesh fencingArea plus lengthYes50%Provisional sum for other.
Additional itemsQtyYes50%Provisional sum for other articles.
Irrigation systemQtyYes50%As required
Garden kerbingArea+lengthYes50%As required
Retaining wallsArea+lengthYes50%As required
MulchAreaYes50%As required
Bollards, chain gate/boomgateQtyYes50%As required
Concrete dual path system and padsQtyNoN/AN/A
Trees and shrubs supply and installQtyYes50%As required
Garden bedsQtyYes50%As required
Turf (roll on)QtyYes50%As required
Playing field works
Subsurface drainageQtyYes50%As required
Lighting for playing fields, control panelQtyNoN/AN/A
Lighting for paths and surroundsQtyNoN/AN/A
Bore supply and equipment (including extraction licence)QtyNo50%As required
Project costs
Site preparation and investigationQtyYes50%As required
Site connection fees (water and electricity)QtyYes50%Water only
Installation and connection of servicesQtyYes50%Water only
Site headworksQtyYes50%As required
Professional fees for designQtyYes50%Agreed fee where applicable
Aboriginal consultation
Section 18 Approval
Community consultation
QtyYes50%Only if required
SignageQtyNo50%Only if required
Opening and other minor itemsQtyNoN/AN/A

Deed of Licence

This type of agreement is used when the permitted use of school premises involves the conduct of activities or the provision of services that are commercial in nature, which means a business is conducted exclusively or cyclically on the premises and income is derived by the proponent by charging fees for service or conduct.

The Department of Education has developed a Deed of Licence agreement that is specifically required for commercial operations. This type of agreement may include the use of facilities on school premises for the purposes of personal fitness training, sports coaching, training or instruction and a registered sporting club, which uses the school as its official facility.

Tags :
  • facilities
  • recreation
  • school
  • sport
Categories :
  • Sport and recreation
Related local governments
Related pages :
Page reviewed 01 June 2023