Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia partner to promote volunteering in sporting communities post COVID

Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia partner to promote volunteering in sporting communities post COVID
November 17, 2020

Two peak industry bodies - Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia - have entered a formal partnership to address one of the most pressing challenges facing the sports industry during the COVID-19 pandemic - the future of its volunteers.

The partnership aims to further develop their co-operation in the field and explore new ways to promote and positively impact volunteering in the Australian community.

Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia have identified three key focus areas to explore under their new partnership – attracting more volunteers to sport; reducing barriers to volunteer recruitment; and increasing volunteer retention and quality of experience.

Volunteers play a critical role within the Australian sporting landscape with over three million Australians contributing across all levels of sport. With approximately 72% of sport and recreation roles held by volunteers, the sector depends on them to coach players, manage community clubs, and provide positive sporting experiences for participants at all stages of life.

The partnership announcement follows the publication of data earlier in the year showing a 65% decline nationwide in the volunteer workforce as a result of the pandemic.

Sport Australia Acting Chief Executive, Rob Dalton explains “the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted sport in Australia and the role of the volunteer is now more important than ever. We need our volunteers to help rebuild our sporting communities and contribute to our social and economic recovery.

“Recent Sport Australia data shows that up until August 2020, over two million volunteers in sport had not resumed their usual volunteering levels, which illustrates the gravity of the challenge the industry is facing and the need for a coordinated approach between our organisations and our partners in the sports sector to address it.

“Our partnership with Volunteering Australia will enable us to work together and alongside the sector to develop a range of strategies to overcome the barriers for getting people back out into their communities and sporting clubs.”

The latest Sport Australia data indicates 57% of sports volunteers had not returned to any sports volunteering activity by August, while roughly a third of adults and children who expected to play at least one sport between April and December were back playing the same number of sports and a small number (2% of both groups) were playing more sports.

Dalton said the challenge was not only bringing volunteers back to sport but providing a plan to support them in a complex environment adding “there has been a singular focus on encouraging participants back to sport, but without volunteers there is no return to play and our data is showing that volunteers are returning to sport at a proportionately slower rate than participants.

“We are looking to deepen our understanding of the challenges for sports in the recruitment and retention of volunteers and work collaboratively across the sector to identify opportunities to support them.”

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive, Mark Pearce advise “participation in sport has the capacity to improve lives, strengthen communities, and hurdle language and cultural barriers like few other endeavours. Whilst we celebrate our sporting achievements, these wouldn’t be possible without the committed efforts of over three million volunteers who support participation at every level.

“Volunteering Australia is therefore delighted to be partnering with Sport Australia to ensure Australians have the opportunities to offer the time and expertise so vital to guaranteeing sport in our country continues to thrive.”

Image top courtesy of Sport Australia 

Related Articles

12th November 2020 - Surf Life Saving Australia launches new volunteer recruitment campaign

28th October 2020 - South Australia celebrates appointment of 100th volunteer park ranger

10th July 2020 - Cricket Victoria launches training series for volunteers

18th May 2020 - Tasmanian Government recognises volunteers during 2020 National Volunteer Week

14th May 2020 - Surf Life Saving Queensland volunteer surf lifesavers save over 700 lives during latest patrol season

27th March 2020 - Surf Life Saving NSW ends volunteer beach patrol season early

29th December 2019 - Cricket Victoria pays tribute to its volunteers

19th November 2019 - Gold Coast looks to expand post-Commonwealth Games volunteer network

23rd May 2019 - Football Federation Australia acknowledges thousands of volunteers

20th May 2019 - Sport Australia acknowledges volunteers during 2019 National Volunteer Week

27th June 2018 - Sport NZ Chief Executive acknowledges the value of volunteers

30th June 2017 - NSW Community Sports Awards recognises roll of volunteers

15th April 2017 - Volunteers praised as Surf Life Saving season draws to an end

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Playrope Aqua-Fun, are the Australian & New Zealand exclusive distributors for Vortex Aquatic Structures International, the world leader in aquatic playgrounds and urban water landscapes.…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Parks / Play / Recreation


BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



AUSTRALIAN MADE. FIT FOR PURPOSE. Based on the Gold Coast, AlphaFit is a leading manufacturer and supplier of Australian gym equipment specifically for the commercial, strength and conditioning,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



    SimplySwim is a school management solution that helps swimming school owners and managers optimize operations by automating functions such as managing class schedules, billing and…

read more

Aquatics / Education / Recreation / Safety / Technology



ICP is an Australian-based company focused on indoor climbing. ICP will manage your project from initial design to completion and beyond, whether you're building an international-level climbing…

read more

Attractions / Fitness / Recreation



Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks


Yellowbox Lockers

Yellowbox is an Australian technology company that has developed smart locker technology operated through an app with a focus on experience for users and facility managers. Found at Beaches, Aquatic…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Entertainment / Retail / Security


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business