Cookie helping shape the future of sport volunteering in Australia

A pioneer for women’s footy at the Sandgate Hawks Footy Club has been named in a newly formed volunteer coalition comprising some of the nation’s most passionate sports administrators who’ve joined forces to shape the future of sport volunteering in Australia.

Jessica “Cookie” Cook is one of nine inaugural members of Sport Australia’s Sport Volunteer Coalition which includes experts from the sports industry, government and volunteering who will work together to transform the sport volunteer experience and promote the value of volunteering in sport.

The coalition, which is a key part of Sport Australia’s Sport Volunteering National Plan, will play a critical role in supporting the sector to develop strategies that help keep our clubs open and our communities active.

Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said: “Sport has the biggest volunteer base of any industry in Australia and is estimated to be worth $4 billion a year but we risk losing our volunteers if we don’t provide opportunities that suit them.”

“We’ve identified five elements that should underpin all volunteer experiences – including making it easy to be involved, being supported and tailoring roles to meet individual needs.

“I’m looking forward to drawing on the expertise provided by our coalition members to develop and implement the plan and assist sports to navigate the evolving volunteer landscape.”

The coalition is made up of a diverse group of individuals from across the country that bring unique experiences and knowledge from a broad range of sports including golf, badminton, surf life saving and Australian rules football. It will be chaired by Sport Australia’s Director of Sport Programs, Dr Lindsey Reece.

“Cookie” has been recognised for her extraordinary commitment to her local AFL club – Sandgate Hawks, where she volunteers her time coaching and is a founding member of the Female Growth sub-committee, driving the strategic direction of female footy at Sandgate.

When she’s not on the footy field, Jessica works in the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, Queensland Government. She is responsible for driving engagement and collaboration with key stakeholders including government departments to identifying opportunities and partnerships that further contribute to a more active Queensland.

Skilled in strategic planning and policy development, Jessica was instrumental in the successful development of Queensland’s first ever 10-year sport and active recreation strategy “Activate! Queensland 2019 – 2029”.

Most recently, she led the development and delivery of a flagship initiative “ActiveKIT” which funds innovative solutions to increase physical activity opportunities for Queenslanders and contributes to the Sport and Recreation Industry’s capability and resilience.

AFL Queensland also acknowledges the inclusion of the AFL’s National Club & Volunteer Support Manager, Alex Bergin, who has also been named in the coalition.

Alex is currently responsible for driving the AFL’s strategy to engage, nurture and upskill their Club volunteer network across the country, and to support Clubs to be strong, financially secure and sustainable.


Sport Australia congratulates and thanks the following members of the inaugural Sport Volunteer Coalition:

  • Sarah Wilson, Volunteering Australia
  • David Brett, Office of Sport, NSW Government
  • Jessica Cook, Department of Tourism, Innovation & Sport, QLD Government
  • Lisa Hasker, Vicsport
  • Adam Weir, Surf Life Saving Australia
  • Jamie Parsons, Badminton Australia
  • Megan Carr, Golf Australia
  • Alex Burgin, AFL
  • Garry West-Bail, Australian Sporting Alliance for People with a Disability


Story by Sport Australia. 

More information on the Coalition and its members:

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