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2.5 Role of Devonport City in Recreation

Australia has a long history of involvement by Local Government in the delivery of recreation programs and services.
In developing a municipal recreation strategy and related policy/ies it is strategically important to ascertain the future role and responsibilities of local government, as contrasted against Federal Government bodies, State Government, Sporting Associations/Peak  bodies,  non-profit  clubs  and  associations,  private  health  clubs  and  other  commercial groups.
Devonport City Council per local authorities across Australia has had a strong background in sporting and recreation provision  and  from  the  expectations  and  community  values  cited  by  respondents  in  the  consultative  phase  an important ongoing future role in regards to enhancing and furthering such provision.
Over  the  course  of  the  study  a  number  of  community  values  were  apparent  which  impact  on  the  provision  of recreation, leisure and sport opportunities across the municipality. These themes are consistent with the community consultation  findings,  and  will  shape  any  future  recreation  policy,  recreation  services  and  program  delivery  and infrastructure  development.  The  Devonport  City  is  made  up  of  the  major  commercial  centre  at  Devonport,  and smaller  population  bases  at  East  Devonport,  Spreyton,  Ambleside  and  Don.  Maintaining  high  quality  sporting facilities in a way, which is perceived to be accessible and equitable to all residents is a significant challenge for the City to manage.

2.6 Rationale for Local Government Involvement in Recreation

The regional Cradle Coast Recreation Planning Framework states:
“Australian Local Government has traditionally played a major role in provision of parks and recreation infrastructure,programs and services. This level of involvement of the past century has increased to a high level of involvement and funding by local government. Traditionally, recreation clubs programs and activities were exclusively community based. Public land was provided for communities, and operated by not for profit clubs and organizations. Over the course of local government’s development it has assumed an increasing level of responsibility for the maintenance and management of these recreation areas and now spends a significant amount of its budget on recreational infrastructure and program provision.
The reason why local government has a direct responsibility for the provision of recreation is as follows:
  • Historical – communities, residents and ratepayers expect local government to provide land, facilities and funds to assist in the provision of recreation opportunities and activities  
  • Councils  own  and/or  control  recreation  assets  -  including  sportsgrounds,  major  indoor  facilities,  stadiums,bowling clubs,  regional  parks,  gardens  and  reserves. Part of Council’s  charter  is  to  ensure  these  assets  aremanaged as efficiently and effectively as possible, optimising usage and minimising duplication.
  • Recreation  facilities  and  open  space  are  regarded  as  basic  components  of  local  government  infrastructure provision - as is highlighted by its value and hierarchy within local government planning schemes. It is Councils role to provide such infrastructure at a level satisfactory to the local community, which meets the needs of the community and is within council's ability of finance and maintain.
  • Recreation is recognized as offering communities significant health benefits, and these benefits are reflected in both federal and state government policies and practices, which encourage greater public participation in leisure activities eg. Active Australia Program.
  • Inequitable  provision  of  sporting  and  recreation  resources  across  the  state  exists,  and  Councils  have  a responsibility  to  provide  basic  facilities  across  their  municipalities  and  ensure  an  equitable  distribution  of resources.
  • Municipalities  are  proud  of  their  sporting  prowess  and  like  to  promote  their  high  quality  facilities,  in  order  to attract  residents  to  the  local  area,  provide  a  better  quality  of  life  for  existing  residents  and  to maintain  their sporting competitiveness at a local, regional, state, national and even international level.
  • Recreation  provides  economic  benefit  to  the  local  community,  through  the  development  and maintenance  of facilities; events and competitions, which attract visitors to the local area and through the indirect support of local sporting/recreational groups, offers a boost to the local economy.
  • Social cohesion is important to the social fabric of a community, and recreation and sporting activities are a key part in development of healthy and happy communities, where friendship, family and relationships are valued.
  • Recreational and sporting clubs offer key community venues and opportunities for communities to interact and socialize.”
Cradle Coast Recreation Planning Framework, 2001
The Cradle Coast Recreation Planning Framework offers some excellent planning processes and frameworks worthy of consideration at Devonport, and as such is a valuable reference document for Devonport staff responsible for recreation provision and planning.

2.7 Roles and Responsibilities of Local Government

The  role  which  local  government  across  Australia  plays  in  relation  to  the  provision  of  sporting  and  recreation opportunities is traditionally as follows:
  • Asset and risk manager, by maintaining infrastructure assets for the municipality 
  • Planner and co-coordinator of recreation and sports information and opportunities
  • Supporter and developer of agencies providing sporting and recreational opportunities
  • Advocate for improving recreation opportunities
  • Catalyst for the development of recreation opportunities
  • Direct provider of recreation programs and activities.
Councils are involved to a degree in all 6 roles. The major factor for Devonport City is weighting to the provision of the aforementioned roles, and whether increased responsibility or resources should be given to certain aspects of Councils provision.
In deciding on its role, Council must decide on the role of its partners in also supporting sport and recreation for the municipality, namely;
  • Sporting clubs
  • Recreation groups
  • Parent bodies of recreation and sporting bodies eg. Associations
  • Community organisations
  • State and Federal Government departments

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