The Government’s plan for the future of Australian sport has been a long time coming.
A more active Australia, sporting excellence, improved safeguards for sports integrity and growth in the sport industry are worthy goals and crucial planks to building a successful sporting future for our nation.
But, more than 14 months after it was launched by former Minister for Sport Greg Hunt, the Government’s game plan for Australian sport looks thin on detail.
A new name and logo for the Australian Sports Commission, now Sport Australia, along with a new hashtag and advertising campaign will not be enough get Australia active and secure our future sporting success.
Minister McKenzie says she wants the Australian Institute of Sport to return to the cutting edge of high performance support, but in the past five years under this government more than 70 sports science and medicine experts have been cut from the AIS, including 35 just this year.
The Plan highlights participation and sporting excellence as priorities, yet Sport Australia has 60 fewer high performance staff and 34 fewer participation staff than the ASC did just months ago, while at the same time corporate and marketing staff numbers have increased.
Australia does need a plan for its sporting future, but Minister McKenzie needs to explain how the AIS and Sport Australia are going to do more with less.
Australians value fairness and rightly expect a level playing field for sport, free from match fixing, cheating and doping.
Labor welcomes the overdue release of the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements and urges the government to consult with national sporting organisations and other key stakeholders as priority.