Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sports Shake-Up

Unfortunately, SkyNews didn't play all of this morning's press conference featuring Sports Minister Kate Ellis. But I did manage to catch some of it. I hastily took notes while waiting for my laptop to get its bottom into gear.

This morning, Ellis and representatives from the Australian Sports Commission and Independent Sports Review Panel unveiled their report into the state of Australian sports policy, structure and funding.

Ellis said outright that, "There is a lot of power in Australian sport", and that this report was key to harnessing that power and channeling it in the right direction She was quick to point out that the report - essentially an overview of national sports programs based on consultation sessions with over 600 sporting body representatives, as well a series of recommendations born out of findings from these - does NOT recommend or outline any proposals for funding cuts to sports budgets. This was "pure speculation".

Ellis and David Crawford, the Sports Review Panel chairman, highlighted just two major recommendations of the 39 outlined in the report.

The first was to reform the Australian Sports Commission in order to develop a more solid national sporting policy framework, within which issues like funding can be structured (did that sound like corporate jargon or WHAT!?)

The second was to separate the Australian Institute of Sport from the ASC, and 'merge' it with the other state training centres so all are on a more equal footing in their contribution to the training of elite athletes. Crawford alluding to them being Australian Institutes of Sport, so I assume that instead of "The Victorian Institute of Sport" (for example), we might end up having something like "The Australian Institute of Sport - Victoria".

As I said, I didn't catch everything because SkyNews cut away from the conference and it was hard to extract fact from jargon. But the big focus in addition to elite sports funding is boosting support for sports and health volunteers, and encouraging nationwide support for physical education and recreational sports in schools.

You can read a little more about it all here.

ETA Later Today: The AOC responds to the Rudd government's Crawford review. Hmmm!

The Crawford report dismissed the Australian Olympic Committee's calls for an extra $100 million a year for 10 years for elite sports, saying that money would be better spent elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

Mez I only discovered this site after Nationals and I love it. Thankyou for keeping everyone updated with what's happening in the world of gymnastics.

Mez said...

Thank you, you're very kind! :)

Anonymous said...

The Australian Sports Commission had nothing to do with the Independent Review of Sport. The review was commissioned by the Minister and run by an independent panel. The ASC were in the same boat as everyone else ie. had to make a submission on how to change sport for the future.

Anonymous said...

How can you increase participation in grass roots sports if you don't have heros to look up to. Top tier athletes are the ones that inspire youngsters to give it a go. Funding at grass roots levels shouls be increased by considering it a health issue not just a sport issue and that encouraging this level should lead to a love of a healthy lifestyle. it should in no way effect elite level. Australia prides itself on the accomplishment of their olympic levels and unlike other countries also value the fact that it is also the participation not just the results - which is the true nature of the Olympics anyway

Anonymous said...

From what I understood, because yes there was a lot of mumbo jumbo word play, there will be a decrease in funding to Olympic sports in favour of more traditional higher participant sports such as AFL, cricket and netball.

It's all rather idiotic. Olympics sports don't get enough funding so our Olympians are disadvantaged. Therefore they don't win medals so to solve that problem they will get less funding until results are seen. That's a productive cycle.

They brought up the fact that in Sydney and Athens Australia was 4th in terms of gold but in Beijing we had slipped to 6th. Historically a host country always does well so that's why Sydney was so successful for Australia and Athens was a flow on effect from that as proper funding was still in place and the talent identifcation and grooming procedures in place for Sydney were still resounding. In terms of total medals won Australia finished 5th in Beijing, only one medal less than 4th placed Great Britain so it's not like we've seen a major slide down the ranks. Some golds we were expecting in swimming didn't fall our way but it's not like these Olympics were a failure.

I know Kate Ellis didn't compile this report but her demeanour and handling of everything hasn't been great. As for funding being better spent on other things, I agree it can be. That being said it won't be spent on anything worthwhile and we'll just seen another stimulus spend out situation again.

I do support any efforts to increase sports accessibility to school children especially in the midst of this obesity crisis. I finished primary school just under 10 years ago and we had 3 students in my year level of 55 that could be classified as obese. I recently went to pick up my cousin and at his school every third child looked to be overweight. From the sounds of it his school offers just as much sports time as mine did. Which leads me to wonder have our eating habits changed so much in 10 years time?

I apologise for this long winded rant. It just annoys me when sports in Australia get budget cuts and they still expect us be successful at world events. Hopefully Lauren and Prashanth's London success in the Olympic arena will keep gymnastics well funded until London 2012.

nade00 said...

Yes, gym is a big loser with this report. The whole merging of the state institutes could also cause quite a shakeup if the recommendations are adopted. However, John Coates has acknowledged gym and used it as an example of potential future success to the media, so at least it shows they are aware of the potential of gym for medals (and therefore $$$)

Don't worry though, If I ever win Tattslotto or become a millionaire funding trips to overseas meets will be high on my list of priorities!

Mez said...

I realised earlier today that those submissions about funding we read last year by the Waverley families were reviewed for this very report:

1. Shona's parents: http://www.sportpanel.org.au/internet/sportpanel/publishing.nsf/Content/Stuart+&+Theresa+Morgan

2. Georgia B: http://www.sportpanel.org.au/internet/sportpanel/publishing.nsf/Content/Georgia+Bonora

3. Emma's parents: http://www.sportpanel.org.au/internet/sportpanel/publishing.nsf/Content/Jayne+and+Bill+Dennis

Mez said...

According to The Age online this morning, Peggy Liddick is just one member of a newly-formed, "Study group, convened by the AOC to consider the Crawford Report".

They've been nicknamed [John] Coates' Army. Other members include former Olympians and sporting institute heads.