AOC CEO Calls For Standalone Department Of Sport
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Chief Executive Officer, Matt Carroll, has called for a stand-alone Department of Sport as sports investment in Australia faces a $2 billion black hole over the next decade.
According to Carroll, the continued decline in federal government sport investment could derail Australia’s ambitions for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
He cited the findings of successive national sport plans and reviews, which demonstrate that sport returns $7 for every $1 invested.
In his speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, Carroll, said: “Successive sports plans over many years have not achieved their ambitions, because they have been funded to fail.”
“On the forward projections based on the work we have done with our 44 Member Sports, Australian sport will fall over a financial cliff. Sports are fighting each other for a share of a cake that keeps getting smaller.
“Our analysis shows that based on the forward estimates, there’s a $2 billion shortfall in direct funding to sports across the ten years leading to Brisbane 2032. The shortfall consists of half a billion for participation and $1.5 billion for high performance, spread over the ten years.
“That’s not nearly enough to retain the current levels of sports performance, let alone to maximise the Brisbane 2032 opportunities.
“These are the same sports which are played by more than 9 million Australians and which bring to the table an army of volunteers, coaches and officials. To be clear, this is not funding for the AOC. We ask for none, but it is investment directly to the sports so they can fulfil their mission for the Australian community.
“Every national sports plan recognises the enormous value of sport in tackling the crises in obesity and chronic diseases including mental health problems. Plus, the value of sport in bringing communities together, creating social harmony, creating economic benefit and helping a generation of young people negotiate the future.
“The investment benefits are universally acknowledged and yet the decline continues,” he said.
Carroll has proposed a package of measures to address the decline, including a new partnership between sport and the government, a stand-alone Federal Department of Sport, and a national statement of purpose for sport.
Additionally, Carroll proposed:
- A new sport investment model that ensures a holistic view of sport that yields a measurable and objective return on investment and which improves transparency and accountability.
- Investment in the Australian Institute of Sport to transform it into the CSIRO of sport – a research giant supported by State and Territory sports institutes.
- A national sports events strategy to maximise the benefits of hosting major global sports events in Australia led by the new Department of Sport
- A stand-alone Department of Sport, incorporating the Australian Sports Commission, Sport Integrity Australia and the National Sports Tribunal.
Clarifying the AOC’s support for the redevelopment of the Gabba, Carrol, said: “The AOC supports the Gabba redevelopment, and that position hasn’t changed.”
“The redevelopment sits within the IOC’s New Norm parameters along with other projects that will deliver a long-term benefit to the Queensland community, such as community sports centres.
“The AOC has long maintained the Gabba redevelopment will largely benefit the Brisbane Lions and cricket – with the stadium to used for a month to host Olympic and Paralympic Games events,” he said.
These measures aim to tackle the $2 billion shortfall in sports investment and ensure that Australia’s sporting future remains secure.