2016 South Australian Recreation, Parks and Leisure State Conference summary

South Australian recreation and leisure industry leaders and professionals gathered at the 2016 Parks and Leisure SA/NT and Recreation SA State Conference to gain insights into the latest industry trends, with speakers offering insights from a local, national and global perspective.

The Conference was attended by more than 140 delegates, speakers and trade exhibitors and was held at Next Gen Memorial Drive, on April 11.

Delegates at the annual event included aquatic and community recreation facility managers, leisure centre owners and operators, educators, local government professionals and other industry stakeholders.

Highlights of the State Conference included:

  • A highly entertaining keynote presentation from basketball legend and new Sydney Tigers coach Andrew Gaze, who reflected on his stellar Olympic career and how it influenced the way he thinks and tackles challenges;
  • Dr Emma Sherry, senior lecturer within the LaTrobe University Centre for Sport and Social Inclusion, delivered an inspiring and educational keynote presentation on the benefits of implementing socially inclusive programs within organisations;
  • Adelaide Strikers General Manager Bronwyn Klei shared engagement strategies used to attract nearly 220,000 Big Bash League fans through the gates at Adelaide Oval this season that have led to the team securing significant sponsorship opportunities;
  • Port Adelaide Football Club’s Paul Vandenbergh and Ross Wait spoke about the club’s Aboriginal and multicultural programs which were building opportunities and increasing engagement for these communities;
  • Beyond Bank’s Shane Farley, who is the national community development and sponsorship manager, delivered an informative presentation on what corporates were looking for from organisations seeking sponsorship opportunities;
  • John Wilkinson, from Unley Council, gave an overview of the challenges and advantages of community use agreements for school recreation facilities for local government organisations
  • Shona Pallas, Swimland general manager business development, gave a well-received presentation on the latest Aquatic and Community Recreation sector trends from the US;
  • KWP! head of social media Tom Williamson shared high impact and efficient marketing strategies;
  • Tourism SA business operations manager Joanne Chadwick offered insights into how recreation facilities can derive long lasting benefits from SA’s key international and domestic events held within the state; and
  • Richard Mellon, from the SA Government’s Office for Recreation and Sport, gave an update of the latest news from the National Active Recreation Working Group.

The 2016 Recreation SA Awards were also presented as part of the conference.

Walk The Yorke, a 500km shared walking and cycling trail around the Yorke Peninsula coastline, Norwood Swim School and outdoor educator Ben Hopkins, were recognised for making an outstanding contribution to the recreation sector in South Australia.

Each year the awards celebrate the achievements of committed professionals and forward-thinking organisations who dedicate significant time and effort to improving the recreation sector in this State.

Former Crows star Brent Reilly was the special guest at the awards presentation, where he discussed football career, his road to recovery after the sickening head injury that cut short his 203-game career and his life after football.

In remarks to conference attendees, Recreation SA president Iain Evans and PLA SA/NT regional council president John Wilkinson addressed recent developments and achievements delivered across the sectors by both peak bodies.

Iain Evans said it was beneficial for the entire sector to see the development of recreation on the national agenda with the advent of the National Active Recreation Working Group, with Recreation SA well placed to provide input into this agenda.

As well as contributing to high level discussions on planning reforms and other issues affecting the sector, John Wilkinson highlighted PLA’s work to relaunch the Parks Alive brand as a tool to promote leisure activities in public parks.

The 2016 State Conference was the fourth presented in a partnership between Parks and Leisure Australia SA/NT and Recreation SA to capture the whole of the recreation industry. The single day conference was an excellent opportunity for professionals to increase industry knowledge and local networks, and learn from colleagues in the sector.