City Councils are the predominant owners (and therefore suppliers) of sport and recreation facilities in Victoria. They provide a range of facility types, including but not limited to indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities, indoor sports stadiums, sports grounds and pavilions, play spaces, skate parks, parks and recreation trails. In many cases, Councils lead infrastructure development and maintenance activities to ensure sport and recreation activities are undertaken in facilities that are safe and meet statutory and state sporting association requirements for a range of sport and recreation activities.
City Councils also provide tenancy arrangements (seasonal, license and lease) to their facilities for a range of not-for-profit sporting organisations to conduct activities for the community.
In 2009 Merri-bek recognised that despite 51% of local residents being female, only 8% were accessing council’s sport grounds.
In response to this, Merri-bek implemented an Active Women and Girls Sport Strategy, which made Merri-bek the first Council in Victoria to recognise the need for a dedicated approach to improve women and girls’ participation in sport, through the introduction of a Sportsground and Pavilion Allocation Policy that requested all clubs be more inclusive, or risk losing their ground allocation.
Since then, we have seen the number of females accessing our sport grounds rise from 8% (975) in 2009 to 23% (3021) in 2019. These numbers do not include women and girls partaking in recreational exercise, which are even higher.