The National Sports & Physical Activity Convention | IAKS 2024 was again host of the Australian Sport, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards for 2024.

The purpose of these awards is to recognise individuals, government, not-for-profits, the commercial sector, play sector, recreation and sports of their innovations to get more people active in the community.

Each category winner received their trophy and recognition in front of 1,000 of their peers at the NSC Oration on Thursday afternoon and were then considered for the overall Winner.

The winners in each category are:


Innovative programs, activities and events that have been developed to encourage the community to be more active and increase participation.

Collective Leisure – Liverpool Seniors Well-being and Social Group


Recognises outstanding efforts by individuals or organisations in delivering programs/initiatives that champion inclusion and active participation across diverse communities. This could include initiatives that have advocated for gender equality, involved LGBTQIA+ communities, supported people with disabilities, empowered indigenous populations, reached out to culturally diverse and multicultural communities and encouraged participation among other underrepresented communities.

Sport4All – integrated inclusion program

3. TECHNOLOGY in partnership with CODE Sports

Innovations in technology that support Business to Business (B2B) improvements for the industry or Business to Consumer (B2C) experiences.

Playground123 – Integrated playground software

4. PLACES AND SPACES DESIGN in partnership with Theca Rubner

Innovative design, solutions and management that creates an environment where more people are active (indoor and outdoor environments, with natural, synthetic and built forms), whilst embracing the principles of sustainability.

Warren and Mahoney – Northcote Aquatic & Recreation Centre


Innovations that organisations have embraced to recognise the impact that sport can have on climate change and how they have focused on reducing their carbon footprint.

K20 Architecture – Knox Regional Netball Centre


Designs and developments that allow and encourage more children to play, have fun and be active.
Australian Institute of Play – Joomunjie Land


The Overall Australian Sport, Recreation, and Play Industry Award for Innovation was chosen from the individual winners and was awarded this year to two exceptional submissions:

The Australian Institute of Play with Joomunjie Land

Joomunjie Land is a space at Eagleby South State School, full of Loose Parts Play. This unique space is Queensland first Adventure Playground and Community Backyard. An adventure playground means that children can come to this space and try anything they want, so long as there are no hazards. The children also call this space a Community Backyard, because it’s where any neighbour child can come and play!

Two years ago, the student leaders at the school designed Joomunjie for their fellow students and any local child would want to come play. Since then, the response from the children attending has been so great, that funding was increased to open Joomunjie Land an extra day a week (originally only open twice a week, now three times). This has meant our supporting organisation has hired new Playworkers to help facilitate play and supervise this space. The positions advertised encouraged Aboriginal peoples to apply, to protect the culture in this space as Eagleby has a high population of Aboriginal peoples.

Children who rarely had the opportunity to engage with their own culture, now have the opportunity to do so three times a week.

Warren & Mahony with the Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre

The City of Darebin sought a flagship project to reinforce its strong stance on climate action and raise the bar for other public projects. Its much-loved 1960s swim center was due for an upgrade, and Warren & Mahoney were commissioned to design a replacement with a 6-Star Green Star sustainability rating – an ambitious and demanding target.

To achieve this, we put together an expert team that included an ESD (environmentally sustainable design) consultant. We mapped out running costs, life cycle cost analysis, and zero waste targets. We selected materials and systems to minimise the carbon footprint, both during construction and over long-term operations and the design life of the facility. Water and air heating and circulation systems are fully electric, with much of the energy supplied by a 475kw solar panel roof array, the remainder of the energy demand is supported by renewable power purchasing agreements, negotiated by the Darebin City Council.

The upgrade retains the previous landscaped character, with green picnic spaces inviting family, school, and community group use. A welcoming cafe, public meeting rooms, and picnic areas create opportunities for people of every age to explore and participate, the Centre offers multiple new pathways to physical literacy in the community.

Editor’s Notes

The National Sports & Physical Activity Convention (NSC) has grown since 2016 as APAC’s largest and most prominent community sport and recreation convention and expo. In 2023 had overwhelming support and participation from the largest ever gathering of the sports and physical activity ecosystem with over 1,550 attendees and a sold-out Expo of 80+ of the latest products, services and innovations. The organisers work with its 40+ collaborators to curate a program with international and Australian experts, providing the most comprehensive program on community sport recreation and sports facilities in Australia.  

Photos from the NSC can be found at

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Further information contact Anthony Reed, at or (03) 9421 0133.

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