Inclusive Sport

Everyone should be able to participate in sport and physical activity in a welcoming and inclusive way, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability, cultural background, ethnicity, location or life stage.

Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and protected from discrimination, harassment and abuse.

We recognise that people cannot enjoy themselves or perform at their best if they are treated unfairly, so Australian sports and physical activity providers must provide environments that are free from all forms of discrimination and harassment.

Inclusive Sport Framework

Having an Inclusive Sport Framework in place sends an overt message that the sport will not tolerate discrimination, barriers or disadvantage. It shows that everyone is included, everyone is treated equal and everyone will be made to feel part of the organisation. It can also help attract new members, sponsors and other community organisations with similar values, who want to align with your brand and activities.

Inclusive Sport Laws

There are federal and state/territory anti-discrimination laws that make discrimination and harassment unlawful in relation to a person’s gender, sexuality, disability, race, colour, national and ethnic origin, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background in all areas of life, including sport. It is important to communicate federal, state and territory government anti-discrimination information to ensure people are aware of compliance within different jurisdictional legislation.

The 7 Pillars of Inclusion

The 7 Pillars of Inclusion is a broad framework to give sports clubs and associations a starting point to address inclusion and diversity. This model is about giving a ‘helicopter’ view of inclusion which looks at the common elements that contribute to creating inclusive environments that reflect the communities that we live in. 

The seven pillars are:

  • Access
  • Attitude
  • Choice
  • Partnerships
  • Communication
  • Policy
  • Opportunities

The 7 Pillars Framework has been adopted by a number of national and state sports organisations, but could equally be applied to your local club. A practical way to use the 7 Pillars is to get together with the key decision makers of your organisation and work through each Pillar and assess where your organisation fits. 7 Pillars will assist you with identifying your strengths and weaknesses around inclusion and diversity and help you along the path to creating a strong, inclusive culture for your club. 

Pillar 1: Access

Access is both physical and attitudinal. Here, we briefly consider physical built access and then focus on how to create a more accessible, welcoming environment in your club.

Pillar 2: Attitude

Attitude is often cited as one of the biggest barriers and underpins all the pillars of inclusion. Without doubt, a positive attitude goes a long way to making inclusion a reality.

Pillar 3: Choice

Sport is not ‘one size fits all’. The focus for clubs should be on finding practical ways for all people to participate in sport at a level of their choice. Inclusion is about providing this range of options.

Pillar 4: Partnerships

Inclusion rarely happens in isolation. For inclusion to work you need to have effective, mutually-beneficial partnerships.

Pillar 5: Communication

Effective communication is critical to the success of inclusion. Inclusive communication means you may need to change your habits and adapt your methods on how you speak and listen to existing and new members.

Pillar 6: Policy

For inclusion to become part of core business for any sport or club there needs to be a firm commitment and responsibility to member protection and complaints resolution. This is best done in the form of policy.

Pillar 7: Opportunities

New opportunities in sport don’t happen by chance. Often, we need to make practical changes to what we do so that all people get a fair go.