The history of the Allocation and Use of Sporting Facilities, Grounds and Pavilions Policy

Merri-bek was the first Council in Victoria to prioritise the allocation and use of sporting facilities, grounds and pavilions to clubs which demonstrate inclusiveness of women and girls in particular. Merri-bek prides itself on being a leader in female participation in sports.

In 2009, Merri-bek City Council began research and consultation to identify the key challenges in the provision of sport and active recreation for women and girls within the municipality. This resulted in the development of the Active Women and Girls Strategy in 2009, subsequently updated in 2011 and 2015.

To address the inequity found in the research, Council also introduced an Allocation and Use of Sporting Facilities, Grounds and Pavilions Policy in 2010, subsequently updated in 2012 and 2016. The policy requested clubs to be inclusive of women, juniors, people with a disability and people from culturally diverse communities, or risk losing allocation of a ground to clubs who do offer inclusive programs.

Reviewing the policy

At its meeting on 9 March 2022, Council resolved to review the current Allocation and Use of Sporting Facilities, Grounds and Pavilions Policy.

As the first step in this process, we developed a Discussion Paper that provides key points of consideration to ensure Council continues to meet obligations across various policies, actions and plan, and provides suggestions to be incorporated into a new policy.

What happened next?

A further round of targeted engagement with Sporting Clubs occurred during June – early August 2023 with this page remaining open during this period for general feedback.

In acknowledging the time, effort and resources required of volunteers and recognising that the Merri-bek sporting community is recovering from the many challenges faced throughout the pandemic, the Policy has been simplified and revised to focus on four policy objectives:

  • Promoting healthy and safe local environments.
  • Encouraging inclusivity of all people.
  • Championing gender equity and development pathways.
  • Demonstrating good governance.
  • Council officers will continue to work closely with clubs and associations with a core focus on providing training, support and resources for successful Policy implementation.

    Where are we up to?

    Now we are sharing our final draft policy, which has been based on previous rounds of feedback.