Elite athletes offered certainty for future

The Australian Government, through Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport, has locked in an investment aimed at keeping our leading sports men and women on track.

Athletes will benefit from a $115 million commitment for the 2021-22 financial year aimed at reinforcing individual Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games campaigns.

As part of the investment, direct funding for Paralympic sports will increase by more than $3 million, with the majority of current funding levels for able-bodied sports also extended to the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, said the nation’s elite athletes continue to inspire Australians in what has been a challenging time for sport at every level.

“The Australian Government’s record core funding levels to support athletes builds on the recent investments to support wellbeing and pathways for young aspiring Olympians and Paralympians,” he said.

The boost for Paralympic competitors, across 13 sporting programs, marks a 40 per cent increase in funding via the Australian Sports Commission since 2012.

Paralympics Australia president Jack O’Callaghan said the funding marked a significant moment in the evolution of Paralympic sport in Australia.

“We are so proud and thankful the Federal Government recognises the value and impact of growing investment into Paralympic sport and has entrusted us with greater responsibility to lead and grow our movement even further,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

“Paralympics Australia applauds the Federal Government, Sport Australia, particularly its Chair John Wylie, and the AIS for sharing our vision for more equitable funding for Australia’s Paralympians and for acknowledging the unique and irreplaceable contribution that Paralympic sport provides the broader community.”

Minister Colbeck said the Government has been a strong supporter of Paralympics Australia and its athletes with recent investments of $8 million toward preparations for the Tokyo Paralympics and $4 million to support the construction of a Community, Education and Events Centre at Paralympic Australia’s base in Victoria.

He said given the challenging fiscal environment associated with the impact of COVID-19, Sport Australia and the AIS had also worked closely with national sporting organisations to provide greater flexibility with use of existing Commonwealth grant funding.

High performance funding allocations to national sporting organisations are determined by the AIS. Sport Australia determine participation funding.

In March 2020, Sport Australia introduced guidelines offering flexibility within existing funding agreements to give sporting bodies the ability to redirect funding into areas of need within each organisation.

“Sport Australia will continue to provide flexibility in the release of this funding,” Minister Colbeck said.

The expenditure guidelines initially developed for the period 1 March to 31 December 2020, will be extended until 30 June 2021.

“The funding decisions of the Australian Sports Commission strike a balance in providing certainty and flexibility as athletes look ahead to the Paris 2024 Olympics,” Minister Colbeck said.

“It also underpins the Sport 2030 objective of backing our best athletes, coaches and sporting bodies to develop a high-performance culture and help ensure Australians can reach their potential on the world stage.”

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