Rural and regional sport under spotlight

Regional sporting clubs face significant challenges when it comes to remaining competitive and relevant against their urban counterparts, organisers of an upcoming conference have revealed.

La Trobe University will host the Sport in Regional Australia: Meeting Future Challenges conference on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 September, to promote the ways rural sporting organisations can combat challenges, attract members and remain viable.

'The conference is thought to be the first major event to focus on the sport industry in rural and regional Australia,' said Dr Matthew Nicholson, conference convenor.

Dr Nicholson said that the conference would examine the sport performance, management and development issues that the industry faces.

'Compared to urban cities, regional and rural Australia has lower levels of sport participation and physical activity, higher costs of travel to sport events and competitions as well as less access to high quality training and testing facilities.

'Meanwhile, athletes, coaches, administrators and volunteers have less access to development programs,' he said.

Three of Australia's greatest sport coaches – the AFL's Mick Malthouse who is also a La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, colleague David Parkin and Olympics coach Ric Charlesworth – will give unique insights into the complex and ever-changing coaching environment.

Elite basketballer Kristi Harrower, Olympic hurdler Kyle Vander-kuyp and Bryce Selwood (father of AFL players Joel, Troy and Scott) will join a panel of coaches and administrators to discuss high performance sporting success in regional and rural Australia.

Angela Hunt, Manager Community Development and Client Services, Ararat Rural City Council, will take part in a workshop exploring participation and physical activity in regional communities. Ararat Rural City Council implemented 'Ararat Active City' after the TV show The Biggest Loser: Challenge Australia was filmed there earlier this year.

Two days of presentations by 60 speakers from across the sport industry, including leading demographer and social commentator Professor Bernard Salt, will analyse a range of key and controversial issues such as:

  • Sport nutrition and the use of supplements
  • Sport participation and physical activity in regional communities
  • Using sport events for economic development
  • Sport psychology
  • Coach welfare and development
  • Sport sponsorship
  • Facility management
  • Volunteering and 
  • Challenges posed by climate change and sustainability

The Sport in Regional Australia: Meeting Future Challenges conference will take place in Bendigo on Monday 10 November to Tuesday 11 November.

Click here to learn more about the conference

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Tom O'Callaghan, Media and Communications, T 03 5444 7415, M 0408 900 469