Play Our Way program grant opportunity guidelines – Webinar recording – 22 March 2024

This is the recording of the Play Our Way program grant opportunity guidelines webinar held on 22 March 2024. During this webinar, we discussed details about the Grant Opportunity Guidelines including eligibility criteria, assessment processes and how to apply.



Department of Health and Aged Care
Play Our Way – Creating Greater Opportunities for Women and Girls

Friday, 22 March 2024

Presented by:

  • Travis Haslam – First Assistant Secretary, Office of Sport
  • Kat Yuile – Play Our Way Program Section

[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Play our way’, ‘Creating greater opportunities for women and girls’, ‘Travis Haslam PSM, First Assistant Secretary, Office for Sport’, ‘Kat Yuile, Director, Play Our Way Program Section’]

[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker presenting in turn via video, with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen]

Travis Haslam:

Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for joining us today to hear about the Play Our Way Program. My name is Travis Haslam and I’m the First Assistant Secretary of the office for Sport in the Department of Health and Aged Care. I’m joined today by Kat Yuile, Director of the Play Our Way Program.

Kat Yuile: 


Travis Haslam:

I’d like to begin today by acknowledging the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we are virtually meeting today and pay my respect to Elders past, present and emerging. I’m joining you today from the land of the Ngunnawal people and wish to pay those respects to their continuing culture and connections to the lands of the ACT and region. I’d also like to acknowledge and welcome any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples joining us today.

To start our session I’d like to share a video message from the Honourable Anika Wells MP, Minister for Sport.


Anika Wells:

Hello. I’m Anika Wells, your Federal Minister for Sport and Aged Care. And I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which I’m recording this video, the Turrbal and Jagera people. Together Australians stand on the shoulders of 1,600 generations of First Nations people and that is our shared history.

Sport is an important part of Australian life. It helps people to maintain physical and mental health and creates social connections that help build great communities. But too many women and girls are missing out on these things because they face basic barriers to playing and enjoying sport. We have heard too many stories of women and girls changing in men’s bathrooms, wearing hand me down boys’ uniforms, playing with men’s equipment and on poor quality fields that the boys don’t have to use.

It's little wonder that female participation rates in sport are low compared to males particularly after the age of 18. Participation drops even further for women and girls with a disability, from culturally or linguistically diverse parts of our community, living outside our cities and big towns, or facing socioeconomic challenges in their daily lives.

To attract and retain women and girls in sport we all need to work together to do better to provide more opportunities and better experiences. We need a sporting culture that treats women and girls with fairness and respect and that starts at the grassroots. Our $200 million Play Our Way Program is a game changer as the biggest and most comprehensive investment in women’s sport ever. The program will fund the construction of high quality female friendly facilities, the purchase of equipment and the delivery of programs that help women and girls to play and to become part of inclusive, respectful, sporting communities. Importantly Play Our Way is a partnership between the Albanese Labour Government and the communities we serve.

Grants will be available to support great ideas that come from local Governments, community organisations, not for profits and sporting organisations to get women and girls involved in sport and to keep them involved for a lifetime. And we have taken the time to design a program that is based on merit, makes impeccable use of public money and is beyond reproach. We appointed an expert advisory panel to work with the Department early on including former Diamond Liz Ellis, champion basketballer Lauren Jackson, former Matilda Tal Karp and Aussie Paralympian Maddie de Rozario. 

We care about true merit but we care about integrity and proper process. And importantly we care about women and girls thriving in sport.


Kat Yuile:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Join at’, ‘#2479 423’, ‘Passcode: tior3k’, with image of QR code]

Before we get into the content I’ll just flag a few logistics for the session. You will notice there’s not an option for you to turn on your video or microphone. With so many people online today it’s a bit tricky for us to manage. But you can lodge questions throughout the presentation in the Slido box on the right hand side of your screen. Slido can also be accessed via the QR code that’s on your screen now.

With the questions that we receive today we won’t be able to answer them live but to ensure probity we will record each question and publish it in writing via the frequently asked questions which is published on GrantConnect.

The session is being recorded and will be updated onto our website along with the slides. For anyone who’s watching this as a recording after the event you can send us questions but please do so through our Grants team at If you haven’t yet accessed the final grant guidelines or frequently asked questions you can find all of our relevant documentation on GrantConnect. You do have to register on GrantConnect to access the documents but please note these won’t be published anywhere else. So please make sure that you register so you can access the most up to date information.

Travis Haslam:

Thanks Kat. As noted by the Minister in her message the Play Our Way Program was designed with input from an Expert Advisory Panel as well as experts across Government. This included a Commonwealth Agency Working Group with participants from the Australian Sports Commission, the Department of Infrastructure, the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Office for Women within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. We also received input from state and territory Government officials.

The grant opportunity is being designed with integrity and transparency in mind and this focus will continue. My team in the Office of Sport will be managing the process according to best practice and the Commonwealth Government Grant Guidelines. Final decisions around funding will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care.

Kat Yuile:

So on 19th of August 2023 the Prime Minister, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Sport announced the $200 million Play Our Way Program to improve sporting facilities, participation and equipment for women and girls. The intended outcomes of the program are to decrease the discrimination and inequality that women and girls experience when participating in sport and physical activity. 

To do this the program will support improved facilities and equipment that are safe, modern and tailored to meet the needs of women and girls in areas where the need is greatest. It will enable the successful delivery of safe, inclusive, quality and sustainable programs and initiatives that promote the engagement of women and girls in sport and physical activity, and it will create new and innovative opportunities for the community to come together through women and girls’ involvement in sport and physical activity.

The intent is that that will result in increased and sustained access and a use of facilities for sport and physical activity that follow universal design principles including inclusivity and accessibility, and we also aim to increase participation, retention, engagement and a sense of belonging for women and girls in sport and physical activity in their communities.

Travis Haslam:

The grant opportunity has been designed to fund projects across two streams. Facilities and participation and equipment. Applicants may apply for funding under one or both streams. Under the facilities stream applicants can apply for a minimum of $50,000 up to a maximum of $1.5 million. For facilities projects in small rural towns, remote or very remote communities such as Modified Monash areas 5 to 7 the maximum will be $2 million to reflect the increased costs of projects in these areas.

Applications under the facilities stream will be taken in two phases. Only those who are considered eligible in the first phase will be invited to submit a full application in phase two. Phase one involves the submission of an Expression of Interest or an EOI. This EOI will give an expectation of numbers. Only those considered meritorious and able to deliver the facility projects will be invited to submit a full grant application. Funding can be requested for the construction of new and/or modified facilities, playing areas and spaces for sport and physical activity to make them more inclusive, safe and accessible and providing equitable and enduring opportunities for women and girls to train and compete. It may also be requested for the construction of new and/or upgraded amenities such as changerooms, showers or toilets at facilities that improve access, safety and use by women and girls. Demonstrating a genuine commitment to gender equality and reducing discrimination is key, ie not building new infrastructure and then giving men priority or favourable access. 

Under the participation and equipment stream applicants can apply for a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $1 million. Applications under this stream won’t be phased. There will be one application and assessment process. Stream two funding may be used for new or updated participation programs that deliver quality sport and physical activity experiences for women and girls facing additional barriers to participation. For example women and girls who are First Nations people, are culturally and linguistically diverse, have a disability, reside in regional, rural and remote areas, reside in a low socioeconomic area and/or identify as belonging to the LGBTIQA+ community. 

This stream will also consider new or updated programs that provide more opportunities for women and girls to engage across a variety of sport roles including important leadership roles like coaching and officiating. Proposals must outline how their impact will endure beyond the funding period and help women and girls overcome the barriers to participation including increasing equitable access to opportunities for participation, providing flexible program delivery to better meet the needs of women and girls, reducing costs associated with sport and physical activity participation and building a culture of equality, respect and inclusion in sport and physical activity. 

In short funding can be requested for materials and other support reasonably required to modify or create new programs to increase participation and deliver quality experiences for women and girls, particularly those facing additional barriers to participation as we have mentioned. Funding may also be requested for equipment that meets the needs of women and girls to participate in sport safely and that is culturally appropriate.

In terms of funding details applicants can request funding to cover up to 100% of their total project costs within the funding caps we have outlined or they may also wish to seek co‑contributions from other parties which may be well received. For large facilities projects we do expect that co-contributions will be common. 

The grant program will run over three years from 24-25 through to 2026-27. Projects under both streams must be completed by 30 June 2027.

Kat Yuile:

So in terms of who can apply we are expecting to receive applications from local governments, community organisations, not for profits and sporting organisations. The types of entity that can apply are listed within the guidelines but they do include Indigenous corporations, companies, local governments, cooperatives, incorporated associations and unincorporated associations. Applications from consortia are acceptable and encouraged providing that there is a lead organisation that is solely accountable to the Commonwealth for delivery and that this lead organisation is an eligible entity as per the guidelines.

Travis Haslam:

As you can imagine we’ve had quite a few questions about the program from interested parties. Answers to these have either been or will be published on our frequently asked questions and I’ll go through some of the most common ones now.

Q:        Will you only fund sports that are popular with women and girls?

There are no predetermined sports for this program. It will consider projects aimed at sports and physical activity. Whilst the program was announced during the FIFA Women’s World Cup the Minister and Government have been very clear that it is open to all sports to give women and girls choice in their activities.

A further question is:

Q:        Will funding be divided evenly across states or based on population?

Funding will be awarded based on the merits of each application as part of a competitive grant process. There is no set formula or set distribution across states, territories or electorates. The guidelines speak to those of the greatest need and whilst we expect this to include a wide reach given the need across the country this will be the role of the assessment team and committee to recommend to the Secretary of the Department of Health a package of activities and projects that will best meet the policy objectives the Government has set having regard to those factors identified with the Expert Advisory Committee, including current barriers to participation of women and girls including intersectional issues.

Q:        How long will this all take?

Applicants will have six weeks to submit their application from the date of opening following which the Department will undertake its assessment. Indicative timings have been included in the grant opportunity guidelines. However absolute timeframes for outcomes are dependent on the number of applications we get under each stream and we acknowledge we are expecting a large volume of applications.

We’ve talked about co-contributions.

Q:        Are they mandatory?

No. The guidelines note that co-contributions would be considered favourably particularly in the infrastructure space which is an important consideration, however they are not mandatory. The Department recognises that not every applicant will be able to co-contribute or access sponsors. Where self-funding or self-sourcing or joining with other layers of Government to fund part of a proposal is reasonable to expect the selection panel would take that situation into consideration.

Another question is:

Q:        How will we make sure that it’s not just the really polished applications that are considered and that grassroots organisations have a chance?

We do understand that organisations have varying levels of capacity and expertise with grant applications and that local clubs may not be able to enlist additional help. The assessment criteria and grant guidelines have been developed with simplicity in mind. The assessment panel will be looking at the quality of the idea, the local need and the solution you propose and ensuring it will make a direct, positive difference to women and girls participating in sport and physical activity, and ensuring applicants can show a level of governance that will give selectors the confidence that you can handle the money involved and deliver the project with little risk. Applicants should pay attention to detailing how you will deliver the activity by yourself or with the help of stakeholders. 

And the last question that we’ve had a lot of already is:

Q:        Will we get feedback on our applications?

The Department will publish general feedback relating to the grant opportunity on our website within 30 days of the outcome being finalised. Individual applicants will be notified in writing if they are unsuccessful but they will not receive specific feedback to their application at that point in time. Anything further in terms of level of detail is dependent on resourcing and the volume of applications that the Department receives.

Kat Yuile:

I’d like to share with you now some thoughts from our Expert Advisory Panel on why Play Our Way is so important. So Maddie de Rozario, Paralympic athlete said ‘Sport should be accessible for everyone. Universal design considerations are an important part of the process to ensure that programs are as inclusive as possible’.

Liz Ellis, former Diamonds captain shared these thoughts. ‘When I was as young girl growing up in Sydney’s west there weren’t many female athletes to look up to. I used to want to play rugby league because that was the only sport on telly. My mum had to take me aside and explain why adult men and women couldn’t play a contact sport together. That was shattering for me. As a ten year old I couldn’t have those dreams of playing professionally. But my little girl will grow up in a completely different world. Gender should not be a barrier when it comes to playing and enjoying sports. Grassroots participation, role models and pathways at the community level are so important to breaking down barriers and creating opportunities for everyone to participate and thrive in sports’.

And finally Tal Karp, former Matilda and Olympian said ‘For as long as I can remember girls playing football, girls like me, didn’t belong. If we are going to change the game for women and girls in sport, superficial, short term approaches won’t cut it. We need to invest in sustainable, evidence-based approaches that address the underlying barriers to participation. We need to prioritise areas where the need is greatest and measure our progress over time. And we need to co-design our approaches with the very cohorts we seek to enable’.

Travis Haslam:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘More information?’, ‘All documents relating to this Grant, including application forms are on GrantConnect’, ‘Grant Opportunity GO6763 – Play Our Way Program’, ‘Please direct all enquiries about the Play Our Way Program Grant Opportunity to:’, ‘’]

Thank you. As we’ve noted GrantConnect is the official Government platform for all grant opportunities. Please make sure you register to receive access to the Play Our Way grant opportunity documents including the guidelines, frequently asked questions and the application forms. As we’ve noted the documents are not published elsewhere so please make sure you register to get access to the most up to date information.

All queries can be directed to Once the webinar finishes today you will be directed to a short survey. If you can please take the time to fill this in so we can continue to improve our webinars and the information we provide. I really do want to thank you for joining us today and I also want to thank the Expert Advisory Panel, colleagues across the Commonwealth for their assistance as well as my team for their work in delivering the Play Our Way opportunity. We look forward to seeing your great applications and all the excellent ideas to how Play Our Way can make an enduring difference for women and girls through sport and physical activity. Thanks for your time.

Kat Yuile: 

Thank you.

[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Play our way’, ‘Creating greater opportunities for women and girls’, ‘Thank you for your time’]

[End of Transcript]

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This is the recording of the Play Our Way program grant opportunity guidelines webinar held on 22 March 2024.

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