Partnerships key to Australia’s sport for development push in the Pacific

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Source: and Australian Sports Commission

Australia continues to play a lead role in helping to reach out and promote sports development in Pacific Island nations. During the Pacific Islands Forum, held in Cairns from 4 to 7 August, 2009 the Australian Government announced a major commitment of $26 million over five years to support the use of sport as a tool for development in Pacific Island countries.

Pacific Islands Forum outcomes
Leaders from 17 Pacific Island countries at the forum discussed the positive role sport can play in building communities, and the power of sport as a tool for reinforcing positive social and health messages in communities, and strengthening relations between countries.

Collaborative approach to funding
The nature of the Australian Government funding will be determined collaboratively by Australia and Pacific Island countries. It will build on existing programs, such as the Australian Sports Outreach Program (ASOP), which is managed by the Australian Sports Commission in partnership with AusAID and focuses on building the capacity of organisations to use quality sport programs for social benefits.

New parternships
Leaders welcomed new partnerships between the Australian Government, Australian Sporting Organisations and Pacific regional sporting bodies, which will be a key vehicle for the delivery of the support to sports development programs.

These partnerships will lead to the development of arrangements for the delivery of rugby league, rugby union, cricket and netball, which will be similar to the agreement between the Australian Government, Football Federation Australia and the Oceania Football Confederation, signed on 5 August.

The Funding Package
The Australian Government’s funding package will focus on two key areas:

1) Boosting community development through sport — the Australian Sports Outreach Program will be expanded to:

  • support the delivery of village-based sports activities in Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu
  • develop new programs in the Solomon Islands and Tonga
  • extend funding of Pacific Sport Development Grants until 2014.

2) Winning sporting partnerships in the Pacific:

  • Establish and support partnerships between the Australian Sports Outreach Program, Australian and Oceania regional sports federations, and their Pacific Islands counterparts, with a focus on sports popular in the Pacific region: rugby union, rugby league, netball, cricket and football (soccer).
  • Create opportunities for improved participation in sport and physical activity for all people, including players, administrators, coaches and officials.

The new Australian Government funding package will provide tremendous assistance in fostering closer sporting ties and partnerships between Australia and participating Pacific nations, to support and enhance community development through sport.