Sport and active recreation is a key medium for creating new relationships among disparate social groups.

People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds and indigenous Australians can be vulnerable to social and structural disconnection. Research shows participation in sport and recreation provides increased opportunities for them to connect with the wider community.

Participation rates by people who have emigrated are relatively lower than people born in Australia. Opportunities exist for sporting and recreation associations and clubs to expand their services by encouraging people of diverse cultures to participate in these programs.

Definitions to consider include:

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse refers to the wide range of cultural groups and individuals that make up the Australian population. It includes groups and individuals who differ according to religion, race, language and ethnicity, except those whose ancestry is Anglo-Saxon, Anglo Celtic, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

New and emerging communities

A term used to describe ethnic communities that are small in number, have recently settled in Australia and often lack established family networks, support systems, community structures and resources, relative to more established communities.


Any person who has left their own country of nationality due to an established fear of being persecuted on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable to, or is unwilling to return to it.

Migrant and immigrant

In Australia, the terms "migrant" and "immigrant" are used interchangeably and refer to a person who moves to another country with the intention of settling permanently.

Handy tips when working with CALD groups:

  • Make it interesting and fun!
  • Provide safe, friendly and accessible environments.
  • Mix physical and social activities in your program.
  • Allow participants to help plan programs.
  • Include some female-only programs.
  • Build confidence by including some non-competitive activities or programs.
  • Use simple and clear language, or translate information into participants native language.
  • Incorporate diversity in your committee/board by encouraging people from a mix of backgrounds, ages and gender to become involved.
  • Provide inclusive training and support for volunteers and staff to ensure all members feel welcome.
  • Consider CALD participants needs when planning and delivering programs, particularly cultural elements.
  • Display posters/images on your website/social media pages that reflect the diversity of your program.
  • Display posters and images that promote respect, integrity and/or leadership.
  • Serve food and/or play music at social events that reflect participant’s cultural backgrounds, e.g. halal food.
  • Offer welcoming messages in different languages reflecting membership of the organisation.
  • Build good links with local community organisations that are connected with the groups you are aiming to work with e.g. youth organisations, multicultural agencies and disability service providers.
  • Keep up-to-date with changes in your local community, such as changes to local population and demographics, barriers to participation and what programs/initiatives exist in your area.

The following website can provide additional