Ah, money, money money. The treasurer Wayne Swan announced in this year’s budget an increase of $195 million as part of the overall contribution of $1.2 billion to Australian sport. According to the government, this “includes a $324.8 million ongoing boost to the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) which incorporates $195.2 million in new funding from the Australian Government – the biggest single funding injection to Australian sport in our nation’s history.”
It includes a range of measures that not only help to promote competition at the elite level, but an increase in participation, particularly with juniors.
Some of these measures include:
- A Sport and Education Strategy – to increase the role and effectiveness of sport in schools and to boost the number of our children participating in our sporting base.
- Requiring National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to have an increased focus on participation outcomes as part of their funding agreements with the ASC and boosting funding opportunities for NSOs to grow grassroots participation through direct grants to community clubs.
- Introducing new funding and measures to address the particular issues affecting women’s participation, advancement and leadership in sport.
- Recognising the importance of quality coaching right across the sporting spectrum and introducing new funding, training, support and mentoring to assist our coaches.
- Providing additional coaching and officiating training opportunities for up to 45,000 community coaches and officials and subsidised costs associated with training for 5,000 new community coaches and officials.
- Doubling our talent identification program – ensuring that our future champions are both discovered and assisted to reach their full potential.
- Increasing funding for the development pathway, doubling the Local Sporting Champions program to provide financial support to 4,000 more young Australians and expanding the number of domestic competitions available for Australian athletes to compete in.
- Introducing a new program to enable our current and retired athletes to use their position as sporting role models to give back to the community or assist the development of aspiring sports men and women.
- Recognising the critical role of volunteers to our entire sports system and introducing measures to support, subsidise and reward their efforts.
- Boosting funding support for our high performance athletes and the retention of our high performance coaches.
- Assisting our high performance athletes to attend and compete strongly in international competition.
Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks was enthusiastic as he welcomed the increase, “Cycling Australia is pleased the government has moved to increase funding support for high performance programs as this will help us ensure Australian cyclists continue to excel on the world stage. Australian cycling is a major medal contender across all disciplines from track and road to mountain bike and BMX. Over the past year Australia has topped the medal table at World Championships on the track and road and claimed medals in BMX, mountain bike and Para-cycling.
“But just as importantly, over the past decade, cycling in Australia has continued to grow in popularity and participation,” said Mr Fredericks.
“The challenge for Cycling Australia is to cater to that increase and to do so we need more volunteers, coaches and officials. ‘The Pathway to Success’ indicates the government has responded to that demand and will support us in our goal to get more Australians involved in cycling,” said Mr Fredericks.
“The Government’s announcement also identifies talent identification programs and junior sport as crucial in nurturing the next generation of medal contenders,” said Mr Fredericks. “The National Talent Identification and Development Program has already paid dividends for cycling producing at Australian Championship level, six gold, seven silver and 11 bronze medallists.
At the time of writing the actual amount that Australian cycling would receive was unknown.