The Australian Government is providing $13.7 million to boost the integrity of sport in Australia through additional funding for both the National Sports Tribunal and Sport Integrity Australia’s efforts to tackle escalating and rapidly evolving integrity risks – critically, including child safeguarding.
Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, said the commitment, announced as part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), would strengthen the ability of sporting organisations in Australia to withstand these serious integrity threats.
“We are providing $10.1 million to Sport Integrity Australia to introduce an independent complaints handling process at all levels, from elite sports to the grassroots level,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This complaints handling process will be complemented by the independent dispute resolution mechanism provided by the National Sports Tribunal.
“This opt-in model will enhance the protections for Australian sport and the community against evolving integrity issues affecting sport domestically and abroad, including harassment, bullying and child abuse, illicit drugs, manipulating outcomes and code of conduct issues.
“This is an important measure to ensure a high level of independence if and when an inquiry is sought. We know how important that can be and will ensure sporting bodies do not become a law unto themselves.
“The Australian Government has developed its National Integrity Framework covering Australia’s 98 National Sporting Organisations. This investment in Sport Integrity Australia and the National Sports Tribunal underpins the implementation of this framework and continues the work towards a stronger and fairer sporting sector across Australia.
“Australians should have confidence in the integrity of sport at all levels. They should have confidence that integrity matters will be handled both independently and fairly. This program is designed to help sports meet those expectations.”
From January 2021, Sport Integrity Australia will commence implementation of an independent and cost-effective assessment and treatment model for integrity complaints to be operational in March 2021. The funding will also support expanded education and awareness work, policy development, co-ordination, and compliance programs.
The National Sports Tribunal (NST) will also receive $3.6 million to extend its pilot program for a further 12 months, until 18 March 2023, following the significant disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NST offers national level sporting bodies and their participants an opportunity to resolve disputes efficiently and affordably, including through mediation, arbitration, conciliation and case appraisal.
Minister Colbeck said the NST would be supported to deal with and complete valid applications made to up until 18 March 2023.
“The Australian Government wants the NST to continue to deliver faster, more cost-effective, independent and transparent sports dispute resolution services,” Minister Colbeck said.
“This will be particularly important to ensure that disputes that arise under the new National Integrity Framework can be resolved independently and fairly, so that sports, their participants and the Australian community can have confidence in the outcomes.
“We anticipate Australia’s peak sporting bodies, such as the Australian Olympic Committee, Paralympics Australia and Commonwealth Games Australia, will be able to utilise the NST for major future events such as the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and 2022 Commonwealth Games.”