Inclusion and Diversity

The sporting landscape has changed enormously in recent years. Government and community expectations for good governance, integrity, equality, member protection and child safeguarding means that providing safe, fair and inclusive surf club environments is no longer an aspiration, but an imperative.

Why inclusion?
Surf Life Saving clubs are part of the Sydney community and like any healthy organisation should mirror the values and culture of the people that comprise community.

To do this effectively, our movement needs to respect and reflect the communities we are seeking to strengthen and protect.  Our movement must be accessible by all members of the community and provide a safe and welcoming environment for anyone who wishes join, participate or come to the beach.

This information will help clubs to develop a greater reach of relevance into the community, to make those who have not traditionally been seen as the ‘Bronzed Aussie’, to feel welcomed and accepted while appreciating their contribution to making our organisation great.

To assist clubs and services, Surf Life Saving Sydney’s inclusion and diversity strategy and the purpose of this page is to:
1. Articulate our commitment
2. Discuss implementation
3. Provide practical ideas that clubs can implement
4. Encourage sharing of ideas, success stories and resources

Our Commitment
 Surf Life Saving Sydney is committed to being an inclusive organisation open to all who wish to participate, regardless of age, gender, disability, religion, cultural and linguistic background or sexual orientation.

It is dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for all by actively promoting the principles of equal opportunity, social justice and cultural safety so all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.

Implementation – we walk the talk
Our commitment is built upon our actions every day at our individual clubs and on the beach.  There are many initiatives underway across SLS Sydney, with individual members and clubs welcoming all parts of the Australian community to our beaches and seeking to make every visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Ways we can walk the talk
1. Plan 
Appoint a Member Services, Inclusion Officer or working group

2. Connect 
Reach out to other clubs in the Sydney branch or beyond to understand the specific initiatives they have underway to promote diversity and inclusion at their beach and make everyone feel welcome. Some examples:
• Indigenous scholarship access to the Bronze Medallion (Tamarama)
• Special need nipper programs (various clubs)
• Migrant Surf Education (Coogee)
• Mental Health Row off (North Cronulla, Bondi, etc)
• Lifesavers with Pride (Various clubs promotion and celebration)
• International Woman’s Day – Pioneering woman photo shoot

3. Act 
Organise events throughout the year, possibly alongside existing activities which reflect a local community celebration. This may include Australia Day (26 January), International Women’s Day (8 March), Mardi Gras (February – March, parade 6 March (TBD), Harmony Week (21 March) etc.

4. Promote Diversity 
Align with community programs and promote community events as a new program or within your existing news, branding and social media.

Key dates and Ideas 
Some key dates and ideas which your club may like to participate in to reflect your club members and the community in which you operate.

Date Event Ideas Link
26 January Australia Day • Nominate for local hero awards and Australian of the Year Awards
Australia Day Organisation
8 March International Women’s Day • Profile existing high profile women
• Host a morning tea
• Discuss women in leadership and mentoring roles
International Women’s Day

Women On Board – Play by the Rules

6 March Mardi Gras • Promote our members joining Life Savers with Pride (LSWP)
• Rainbow your patrol area – flags, face painting etc. 
Life Savers with Pride
15 March Harmony Week • Recognise the many cultures which make up your club. Showcase with food, costume, dance etc.
Harmony Week
27 May to
3 June
Reconciliation Week
Sorry Day
• Include an Acknowledgement of Country to your key events
• Fly the flag
• Invite a community Elder to open one of your events or to tell a story
Reconciliation Week
28 August Wear it Purple Day • Wear purple to support young LGBTIQ community
Wear it Purple
RU Ok Day?
Mental Health Month
World Mental Health Day
• Social media posts from RU OK Day website
• Conduct a Mental Health First Aid Course
• Row for Mental Health 
Mental Health Month
SLSNSW Mental First Aid Course
3 December International Day of People with a disability • Promote an access program – see the many programs conducted by clubs in NSW via weblink
• Download an event planning kit
People with Disability 
NSW Office of Sport
18 December International Migrant Day • Profile a club migrant member in your club news and local media
• Start a scholarship
SLSNSW Community Programs


The following documents have been created to offer your club guidance around developing policies for inclusion, diversity and Indigenous protocols.

Inclusion Statement
Does you club welcome all members of the community regardless of ability, age, culture, gender, race, religion or sexuality?
Inclusion Policy Example

Indigenous Statement
This document provides you with protocols surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people in regards to Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of Country, an example of a club’s indigenous statement, who are the traditional land owners and local contact details for the traditional custodians in your area.
Indigenous Protocols for Clubs

Culture & Leadership – Creating Inclusive Clubs
Being welcoming and inclusive is one feature of healthy and successful clubs.
Creating Inclusive Clubs – Play by the Rules

7 Pillars of Inclusion
The 7 Pillars of Inclusion is a broad framework to give sports clubs and associations a starting point to address inclusion and diversity. The 7 Pillars model is about giving you a ‘helicopter’ view of inclusion which looks at the common elements that contribute to creating inclusive environments that reflect the communities that we live in. The seven pillars are:
• Access
• Attitude
• Choice
• Partnerships
• Communication
• Policy
• Opportunities
7 Pillars of Inclusion – Play by the Rules

Inclusive Sport Framework
Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and protected from discrimination, harassment and abuse. Inclusive Sport – SportAUS

“There are federal and state/territory anti-discrimination laws that make discrimination and harassment unlawful in relation to a person’s gender, sexuality, disability, race, colour, national and ethnic origin, descent, ethnic or ethno-religious background in all areas of life, including sport.  It is important to communicate federal, state and territory government anti-discrimination information to ensure people are aware of compliance within different jurisdictional legislation.”  An excerpt from Sport Australia 

Cultural Inclusion
Surf Life Saving are committed to being an inclusive organisation, dedicated to being open to all members of the Australian community and ensuring all people are treated with respect and dignity within safe, supportive environments.
SLSNSW Cultural Inclusion

Cultural Diversity in Sport
Sport can be used for positive social change – it can help build more inclusive, healthier, happier and safer communities.
Cultural Diversity in Sport – Clearinghouse for Sport

Disability Inclusion
Surf Life Saving is committed to the inclusion of people with disability, their families and their carers. Every person, no matter their ability, has the right to have equal access to our Clubs and activities and should be welcomed as such.
SLSNSW Disability Inclusion

Trans and Gender Diverse Inclusion
Sport Australia partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports to develop Guidelines for the inclusion of transgender and gender diverse people in sport. The Guidelines provide practical advice on how sporting organisations can create and promote an inclusive environment for transgender and gender diverse people.
Integrity in Sport – SportAUS