Big Boost For WA Grass Roots
21 November 2016  

The recent announcement of a three-year, $15 million investment will see a significant impact across grass roots participation in Western Australia.

The commitment from Cricket Australia and Commonwealth Bank will continue the growth of diversity and inclusive programming across Australian cricket.

The landmark deal is the single largest investment in women’s sport and diversity programs ever seen in Australia.

Cricket at all levels will benefit from the watershed commitment, which includes increasing awareness of and access to pathway opportunities for girls, growing grass roots cricket and accessibility for all participants regardless of their background or level of ability, and creating opportunities for Indigenous players to help them maintain a career in the game.

Australia’s Blind, Deaf and ID teams will no longer have to pay to represent their country, with cricket becoming the first non-Paralympian Australian sport to fully integrate and support its national teams for players with a disability.

And the investment will also send Australia’s Indigenous men’s and women’s squads on a tour of England in 2018 as part of plans to commemorate the famous all-Aboriginal team tour of England in 1868.

The WACA has played a leading role in cultivating participation growth across a diverse range of participants and has invested significant resources towards encouraging, promoting and developing opportunities for grass roots engagement.

Over the past four years, the WACA has tripled staffing around participation areas such as female, multicultural, Aboriginal and disabilities.

There’s also been a significant financial commitment in those areas during the same period, such as the $40,000 budget increase for female participation programs and $30,000 towards Aboriginal participation.

Subsequently last year in WA there was 51,904 female cricket participants up 32 per cent and 8,535 Aboriginal participants up 27 per cent.

Significantly there was 126 per cent participation growth in Disability participants and 112 per cent growth in multicultural participants in WA.

The WACA as an organisation has also moved to embed this approach in its core business with various initiatives leading activities that target diverse communities.

Examples include WACA Talent Development Coordinator Job van Bunge working with the state’s National Indigenous Cricket Championships’ side and High Performance coaches Stewart Walters and Wayne Andrews coaching Australian cricketers with a disability in WA.