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Sport employs 110,000: Supported by 1.7 million volunteers

Sport employs 110,000: Supported by 1.7 million volunteers
October 30, 2009

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' latest statistical overview of sport and recreation shows a rise of 23% in sports employment between the 2001 and 2006 censuses.

The just released report Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia (4156.0) showed that at the end of June 2005 there were 111,519 persons working for organisations mainly engaged in providing sports and physical recreation services. Of these persons, 46,552 were working for not-for-profit organisations and 11,051 for government organisations. The remainder were working for businesses aiming to make a profit.

The report showed that, on average, persons in sports and physical recreation occupations were more likely to be working part-time and more likely to have a lower income than persons in the general working population.

Other key findings of the report include:

• Sport and physical recreation organisations attracted the largest number of volunteers with 1.7 million people (11% of the population);
• 10.5 million persons aged 15 years and over (66% of the adult population) who participated in physical activities for recreation, exercise or sport at some time during 2005-2006;
• 7.1 million persons aged 15 years and over (44% of the adult population) attended at least one sporting event during 2005-06;
• A greater percentage of males (52%) attended at least one sporting event than did females (37%).

Key subject areas addressed in the report included:


There were 10.5 million persons aged 15 years and over (66% of the adult population) who participated in physical activities for recreation, exercise or sport at some time during the 12 months prior to interview in 2005-06. Of these persons, 4.4 million (42%) participated in organised sports and physical recreation.

The most popular physical recreation activity for both males and females was walking for exercise, however, the participation rate was much higher for females (33%) than it was for males (17%).

There were 1.7 million children aged 5-14 years (64%) who participated in organised sport outside of school hours during the 12 months ending April 2006.

The most popular organised sport for boys was football which had 268,500 participants (20%), whereas for girls it was swimming with 236,800 participants (18%).


Australians aged 15 years and over spent an average of 19 minutes (7.5%) of their free time each day on sport and outdoor activity. Males spent more time on sport and outdoor activity than females (23 minutes compared to 16 minutes).

On average, 25% of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in sport and outdoor activity each day. Those who participated spent an average of 1 hour and 18 minutes (18%) of their free time each day.


Australian Rules football and horse racing were the sports most attended by both males and females. Australian Rules was attended by 19% of males and 13% of females, while for horse racing the corresponding percentages were 14% and 11%.


The sport participation rate was highest for those whose work commitments allowed them to also meet other family and community responsibilities (73%).

The participation rate for those actively involved in at least one social group in the last 12 months was highest amongst those with an active involvement in a sport or physical recreation group (89%).

Some 59% of sport participants reported that they either strongly or somewhat agreed that most people could be trusted compared with 47% of non-participants.

The sport participation rate is shown to be highest among those who have daily contact with their family and friends at 64%.

The sport participation rate was highest for those whose friends are mostly of the same ethnic background (69%).


Australian ...

For more information on Sports and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia (4156.0) go to

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