At a glance
By Katie Langmore
Ted Turner CPA, who has volunteered with the Australian Football League (AFL) South East for the past five years, speaks passionately about the impact sports clubs have on young people, families and whole communities.
“Through my involvement, I’ve found that, if you can keep girls and boys in sport through the teenage years, it’s a great contribution to their life. It keeps them out of trouble and grounds them with a sense of community and mentorship,” he says.
“For families, too, life can be so busy, and you only have a small amount of time to be together and community focused, so if we can deliver an environment for that, it’s very valuable,” he says.
This is a particularly pertinent point for Turner’s South East region, which is Melbourne’s fastest growing corridor. “The clubs have definitely enhanced the sense of community in these new suburbs. They break down barriers and make communities more cohesive.”
For Turner, who spends his days as executive director at business advisory firm Ashfords, volunteering in sport was a natural progression after years playing footy as a child. “Every weekend was taken up with parents driving us to our various games; that was always part of family life,” he says.
“You move from junior footy player to senior footy player, from junior coach to senior coach, and then adding the skills of being an accountant, you get hooked in as an administrator at club level, and then as president.”
It is a ladder that has taken Turner to the advisory board of AFL’s South East region, which oversees Auskick, AFL Women’s football, women’s netball, Junior Boys’ football, Junior Girls’ football and AFL Men’s football in six Melbourne municipalities.
“The board has lawyers, accountants, sportspeople, marketing professionals and educators bringing their expertise, because, at the end of the day, 30,000 participants means there are a lot of structural, safeguarding and financial complexities,” says Turner.
“My expertise is as a CPA, but I also bring sporting knowledge and regional knowledge.”
Such regional knowledge has also benefited Turner’s other voluntary work, as a member of the CPA Australia Victoria Divisional Council. “The more I learnt about the South East, the more I realised that small business growth, along with residential growth, has been unbelievable, yet there was no CPA branch.”
Turner did some research to explore how many CPA Australia members were in the catchment area and found out it was Victoria’s second most populous area for CPA Australia members. Needless to say, a branch was established, and Turner now sits on the branch committee.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that so much volunteering on top of the demands of heading up a firm would be exhausting, but Turner’s obvious passion for both his profession and sport seems to power him up.
“Sport brings so much to local communities, but what’s often not recognised is it all happens on the back of volunteers, hence my involvement,” he says.
“I have to say, it brings so much joy to me, to see the benefits and what it provides individuals and communities. I think I’ll be a tragic and hang in there for as long as they’ll have me,” he laughs.
About AFL South East
The South East Australian Football Commission was established in May 2013 as an independent governance board focused on the development and management of football and netball within Melbourne’s South East region. AFL South East has nearly 30,000 participants – twice as many as any other region – and supports the local economy, as well as the health and wellbeing of local communities.