Tracking Change: Leisure Participation and Policy in Australia, 1985–2002
DOI: 10.1080/11745398.2003.10600924
Title: Tracking Change: Leisure Participation and Policy in Australia, 1985–2002
Journal Title: Annals of Leisure Research
Volume: Volume 6
Issue: Issue 3
Publication Date: January 2003
Start Page: 345
End Page: 277
Published online: 14 Jan 2013
ISSN: 1174-5398
Author: A. J. Veala
a University of Technology , Sydney , Australia
Abstract: This paper puts forward the proposition that the purpose of official national surveys of leisure participation is: 1. to track Changes in overall leisure participation over time in order to evaluate policy aimed at promoting participation; and 2. to monitor variation in participation across social groups in order to evaluate policies directed at achieving equitable access to leisure opportunity. The chequered history of the various national leisure participation surveys conducted in Australia over the period 1985–2002 is examined to assess the extent to which they have achieved these goals. It is concluded that the fragmentation of government responsibility for leisure, the consequent failure to adopt a coherent approach to leisure as an area of public policy and particularly continual Changes in survey design have prevented the first objective on overall participation from being achieved in any meaningful, consistent manner. Consequently, despite the expenditure of considerable public resources on numerous surveys, information on general trends in leisure participation in Australia over time does not exist. Further, limited collection and publication of data on socio-economic characteristics of participants have prevented the second goal from being achieved. The paper concludes by calling for a consistent and comprehensive approach to the monitoring of leisure participation at the national level, as a basis for accountable policy and academic research.

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