More Victorians in the Game
In August 2014 Vicsport released its Policy Agenda entitled “More Victorians in the Game”. Victoria is facing increasingly complex health, social and community issues. Victoria’s population is expected to soar to 10 million by 2051 including a net migration increase of 2.7 million people. The percentage of the population aged 65 and over is also projected to increase from 14.1% in 2011 to 21.4% in 2051.
At the same time the country is facing an obesity and physical inactivity epidemic. Fifty-seven per cent of the population does not meet the recommended physical activity levels for good health.
In this context the value of investing in getting more Victorians physically active is well recognized. Less understood are the much broader social and community benefits of investment in organized sport and active recreation. A growing evidence base that points to extensive social and community returns, additional to the health benefits, that are derived from people participating in organized sport and active recreation.
Club-based sport and active recreation play an important role in integrating all people into the Victorian community, be they new arrivals or older adults. Generally people involved in sport enjoy much better mental health, social connections and work or educational outcomes. Students who are involved in quality sport and physical education programs in the school environment consistently produce better academic results.
There is also a correlation between increased sport participation and crime reduction. Australian and international research has shown funding sport-based programs can provide up to 5:1 social return on investment through savings related to reductions in crime, truancy, substance abuse and ill health.
Through well planned and appropriately delivered interventions, sport and active recreation can make effective and highly cost efficient contributions towards addressing some of the social and economic issues facing Victorians. To realize this potential, investment is required from the broad range of government portfolio areas to which sport and recreation contribute.
Reference: More Victorians in the Game – Vicsport Policy Agenda August 2014