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Australian way of life at risk:

The nation risks losing its quality of life if Government fails to act, says peak body
By Motherpedia
Date: September 23 2013
Editor Rating:

Australia risks losing the quality of life, for which it is renowned if the new Federal Government doesn't act to protect open spaces, says Parks and Leisure Australia

Failure to act will place serious long-term stress on health budgets, the CEO of Parks and Leisure Australia, Mark Band has warned.

“This is a national problem,” Mr Band said. “A recent report found that 63% of Australians were either overweight or obese and the number is increasing.”

“Not only are sport and recreation critical to fight obesity and improve mental and physical wellbeing, leisure also is essential to combat social isolation and strengthen communities. It also contributes to the economy through events, jobs and national and international trade.”

Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) is the peak national industry association representing parks and leisure professionals. Its members work across a range of industries, including community and urban planning, landscape design, parks and gardens, cemeteries, state and national parks, health and sports development, tourism and the arts and research and academia.

“Parks and open space add to the fabric of our society,” Mr Band said. “They are the lungs of our community and form the focus of all great cities around the world.”

Despite widespread recognition of the benefits delivered by sport and leisure, funding from government is insufficient.

Mr Band hopes new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, renowned for being a keen athlete and keen advocate of health and wellbeing, will heed his call.

“Many facilities used for sport and recreation are over 50 years old,” he said.

“There is an urgent need for all levels of government, the private sector, schools and providers to work together to ensure we have adequate infrastructure.”

 “Australia’s new Federal Government could do a lot more to acknowledge the importance of open space, particularly when tackling the growing problem caused by physical inactivity,” he said. “Developers also must contribute in a more meaningful way to provide and manage open space and parklands in new and growing communities.”

Sport, recreation and leisure continue to struggle to attract government funding.

This is particularity the case for parks, open space and facilities, which at the grass roots level provide the foundation of Australia’s sporting talents.

“We are not against growth per se, but it must be planned to protect our way of life, value open space and preserve the environment. Developers must provide space that is usable, accessible and manageable for local authorities, who maintain it for the community,” Mr Band said.

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