Sporting goods sector welcomes Minister Hunt as new Sport Minister

The Australian sporting goods sector today congratulated the Hon. Greg Hunt on his appointment as Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.

Executive Director of the Australian Sporting Goods Association, Shannon Walker, said “We’re pleased Minister Hunt has been appointed as the Minister for Health and Sport. By continuing to link health and sport, the Government is showing a very real understanding of how sport and physical activity can have an enormous influence on health outcomes for Australians.”

As noted in ASGA’s recent 2017-18 pre-Budget submission, Australia, like much of the rest of the developed world, is facing a physical inactivity crisis. Obesity has risen to record highs, with over 65 per cent of adults classified as being overweight or obese. One in five Australian adults has cardio vascular disease. Over 25 per cent of 5-17 year old’s are overweight or obese.

“Minister Hunt has a very real opportunity to take action and leadership in the lead-up to the 2017-18 Budget. We encourage him to take a visionary, national approach to combating physical inactivity, much the same way the UK government did as part of securing the legacy of the London Olympics,” Mr Walker said.

The UK’s Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity was formed in October 2013 to respond to Britain’s physical inactivity problem. ASGA recommends forming a similar, multi-sector task force (including representatives from sport, health and education), under COAG and the Australian Sports Commission, to review the outcomes and recommendations of the UK Commission; identify local and global pro-physical activity solutions and develop a National Sport and Physical Activity Plan for all levels of Government, the private sector and the non-government sector.

“We also call on the Minister to ensure the Government’s Smart Cities Plan incorporates the latest thinking and research on the positive effects of designing and managing cities to promote physical activity. For example, by requiring schools that receive government funding to make their sports facilities accessible to the local community.”

The sporting and active lifestyle goods sector urges Minister Hunt to work with Minister Birmingham in Education to put qualified PE teachers into every primary school. At the moment, less than a third of primary schools have a dedicated PE teacher – one of the reasons why only 33 per cent of primary schools provide at least 150 minutes of physical education per week to students.

Finally, the Sporting Schools initiative was funded for $100 million over three years (2014-15 to 2016-17). That funding is due to run out at the end of this financial year and ASGA strongly urges to Federal Government to renew the Sporting Schools funding for another three years.

“Minister Hunt has a very real opportunity to make his mark on both the sport and health portfolios. We look forward to working with him to encourage Australians to participate in sport and an active lifestyle and to improve health outcomes for people of all ages,” Mr Walker said.

The Australian Sporting Goods Association was formed in 1981 as the industry association representing a broad spectrum of sporting goods and active lifestyle industry participants, including manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers.

ASGA is a leading industry voice on issues impacting the health, trade, regulation and taxation of the sporting and active lifestyle industries. ASGA aims to foster market growth, provide services and advocate for increased participation in sport and physical activity.