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The Outdoor Voter: A Guide to the industry's election priorities


INTRODUCTION

Outdoors NSW & ACT is the peak body for the Outdoor Industry that supports health and wellbeing of communities through Outdoor Education, Outdoor Recreation, Adventure Tourism & Nature Therapy.

Our members comprise of individuals, small to medium enterprises, stakeholders and partners that use our resources and support for the growth of the industry. We also work with government stakeholders to encourage more understanding of the benefits of Outdoor pursuits for everyone in the community and to ensure barriers to activity are removed or prevented.


In preparation for the 2023 NSW State election, Outdoors NSW & ACT is providing this document to stakeholders to bring awareness to the opportunities for the Outdoor industry to provide its services wider and be a larger contributor to proactive health. Outdoors NSW & ACT has sought the views of our members and combined it with the health data, qualitative research and active recreation data to deduce these pragmatic solutions.

I would like to thank our Directors for their leadership, our 38 volunteers for their ongoing contributions, our members and stakeholders in building a better outdoor industry so our communities benefit.


AREAS OF IMPACT

We are here to get more people active and outdoors to lead to healthier lives, stronger communities, preventing disease and combating mental health issues. Here are some of the areas that need more attention in the next 5 years to build our industry's impact;

ACTIVITY - Physical activity drives health and wellbeing outcomes and does not need to be competitive nor repetitive, and nature provides some of the best 'gyms' in the world. It also adds substantial economic contribution to the tourism industry by way of Adventure Tourism.

INCLUSIVE & ACCESSIBLE - Outdoor Therapy sessions for people with disability and mental health challenges and Outdoor Adventure sessions provide health advantages; both physically and mentally.

EDUCATION - Outdoor Education is a must for all school students in Australia to build essential life skills, social, physical and mental resilience that can not be taught in a classroom. Private Schools are more engaged in this activity as they see the benefits, yet all children should benefit. Public Schools need to more engaged in Outdoor Education for the outcomes it provides and should not be something that only the privileged access.

NATURE PLAY - Pre-schools and early childhood centres should be encouraging nature play activities that have been proven to provide educational opportunities and instil essential learning at the start of a child's life to build resilience and strength in character.


3 POINT PLAN FOR THE INCOMING NSW GOVERNMENT IN MARCH 2023 to help the industry get more people outdoors more often for education, health and wellbeing outcomes


EDUCATION - Encourage the NSW Education System to continue on the good work with the Stage 5 curriculum to build in requirements for all mainstream youth to conduct OE, including a stage 6 component for career progression and embed a compulsory element of Outdoor Education into early stages of education.

And start the integration earlier... bring nature play into the pre-school and primary schools to build skills, and understanding of the habits that can continue through their life for better health.

CAPACITY BUILDING SUPPORT FOR THE INDUSTRY - To help drive the increase of Active Recreation & Outdoor Education in our communities, rework the sport and recreation centre modelling to provide consistent revenue to the peak body that can drive community outcomes and decrease mental health, obesity and other community challenges.

INCREASE PROGRAMS TO SUPPORT ACTIVE RECREATION - Continue the good work of the Active Outdoor Kids Program by rolling it into other areas across the state that need to address obesity, mental health and sociability challenges, and subsidise travel for disadvantaged communities to get to activities or school camps.



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