Cultural aspects of Australia
People can benefit in many ways from involvement in culture and leisure activities. Leisure time gives people an opportunity to recover from the pressures of work and other commitments, to bond with family and community members, and to pursue their own interests such as sports, physical recreation and arts activities (e.g. reading, watching films, listening to music etc). Leisure includes those activities undertaken by a person for enjoyment, recuperation or relaxation and includes hobbies, recreation and cultural and artistic pursuits. These activities are likely to contribute to positive health benefits (both mental and physical), and as such encouraging involvement in culture and leisure activities is seen as a crucial element in strategies aimed at maintaining and improving the overall wellbeing of Australians.
The availability of free time is an important factor in participation in culture and leisure activities. Many changes that took place during the 20th century could have resulted in an increase in the leisure time available to households (i.e. through the development of labour saving devices), however in many households the additional 'free' time has been filled by increased paid work responsibilities (ABS 2001b).
This section focuses on culture as expressed through participation in the arts, sports and recreational activities. More specifically, this section looks at leisure and free time, cultural trade and volunteering in sports and culture.