Queensland Government survey shows success of ‘get active’ incentive
Words by AUSactive CEO Barrie Elvish
Recent surveys carried out by the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport have proven the effectiveness of the State’s FairPlay voucher program.
Designed to encourage and support children aged 5 to 17 years who may be experiencing financial, location or other disadvantage that causes a barrier for participation in physical activity, the results demonstrate high levels of participant satisfaction, and improved physical skills, confidence and mental health outcomes.
Participants also reported appreciating the voucher’s flexibility, range of activities and value offered through the program.
Importantly, almost one third of children participating in their chosen activity did so for the first time.
The Vouchers resulted in two thirds of children aged 5-17 years undertaking vigorous physical activity for at least one hour, 3 times per week; thus meeting Australian Guidelines of recommended physical activity for children of that age.
Queensland, and the nation, is experiencing ballooning rates of obesity, diabetes, heart and stroke ailments as well as other lifestyle-related negative physical and health conditions.
Added to this poor state of health, is increasing rates of mental health issues and widespread anxiety bought on by COVID, climate change and international tensions.
Physical activity helps individuals mitigate and manage overall wellbeing and many other health issues.
Getting active not only reduces strain on the Health System but helps build social connectivity and social capital among families, colleagues and communities.
Government investment in encouraging more people to participate more often in physical activity saves the same government significant money in reduced health care costs.
The success of Queensland’s FairPlay voucher program is a fantastic example of preventative investment in the overall longer-term health of our communities.
With Queensland having 10 years to prepare the infrastructure and logistical requirements for the 2032 Olympic Games, the Queensland Government should also be encouraging complementary positive behavioural change for Queenslanders of all ages and abilities.
With both national and international independent research indicating a return on investment of between 300 – 600 percent, now is the time for the FairPlay voucher program to be extended to all Queenslanders across all age groups.
It is a true win-win investment.