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A common love of sport unites the Pacific and Australia.

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AA 04 056 Tuesday 3 August 2004

A common love of sport unites the Pacific and Australia

We are pleased to launch the Pacific Sporting Needs Assessment, which was commissioned by the Australian Government as part of the AusAID funded Australia-South Pacific Sports Program (ASP).

The ASP Sports Program, administered by the Australian Sports Commission, has provided significant sport development assistance at elite and community levels in 14 Pacific countries for the past decade.

The Needs Assessment is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the sporting landscape across the region and provides a sound game plan for all those interested in promoting sport in the Pacific.

Sport plays an important role in underpinning broad social and economic development objectives, especially in health and education, and fosters a sense of community and national identity.

Commonwealth Sports Ministers recognised, at a meeting in Manchester in 2002, the important role of sport in helping to build and sustain communities, so we are confident that this initiative will be warmly received.

Australia is further strengthening its sporting relationship with the Pacific through a new education program across the region that recognises that sport contributes to active, healthy and cohesive communities.

The $615,000 contribution to the Oceania Sport Education Program, designed to benefit schools, young people and communities across the Pacific, will be administered by the Australian Sports Commission on behalf of AusAID.

The program will also include training for coaches, officials and administrators, from the grassroots to the elite level, and training in sports science and sports medicine.

In sport, as with many other issues facing our Pacific partners, the need for improved governance is vital. By improving training, administration and governance of sport in the Pacific, Australia's aid program is helping to strengthen the Pacific's vibrant and diverse sporting culture as well as ensuring a regional approach flexible enough to meet local needs.

The Pacific Sp rt g Needs Assessment can be found at o in File vision and photos of John Eales visiting an Australian aid sports program in Fiji is available from AusAID.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Minister Downer’s office) 0419 206 890 Adrian Chippindale (Minister Kemp’s office) 0407 208 743

Jo Elsom (AusAID) 02 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489 Simon Langford (ASC) 02 6214 1298 or 0418 605 541