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Australian Sports Commission raises governance standards

Australian Sports Commission raises governance standards
March 19, 2013

Australia's national sporting organisations will be required to improve their governance and accountability to Australian taxpayers following the release of new governance principles today (Tuesday 19th March) by the Australian Sports Commission.

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair John Wylie AM said recent events have confirmed that many sports need to raise their governance standards significantly.

Wylie stated "the ASC is ideally placed to drive improvement in governance standards in Australian sport because it can and will make this a requirement for the ASC's future sport funding grants.

"While good governance does not guarantee success, its absence almost certainly guarantees failure.

"The recent Smith Review into swimming and Wood Review into cycling both identified governance shortcomings as central reasons for failures in the competitive, business or ethical standards in those sports.

"The ASC believes that the Australian public has the right to expect that sports receiving significant taxpayer funding will be well run.

"The ASC expects that good governance will pay dividends for both Australia's high performance success, but also in the management of grass roots participation programs."

The ASC's increased focus on good governance and accountability has two dimensions:

The ASC's increased focus on good governance and accountability has two dimensions:

• A new set of mandatory governance principles for larger partner sports receiving more than $5 million per annum in ASC funding, with financial implications for non compliance;
• Establishing a much stronger link between sports' performance and their funding - with a continued emphasis on participation.

Key reforms include:

• Improved organisation structures
• Improved Board election processes and gender balance
• Zero tolerance for any lack of transparency by sports on how they spend money
• Public company level requirements for sports financial reporting practices
• Proper supervision by Boards of sports science practices.

The sports of swimming, cycling, athletics, sailing, rowing, hockey and basketball are the first sports to be subject to possible financial sanctions of up to 20% of their funding if they do not implement the mandatory governance principles over the next 12 months. The Australian Sports Commission will work closely with each of these sports to help them achieve these principles.

Wylie added "these sports have been identified based on the fact that they are the largest recipients of Australian Government funding and these sports contribute most significantly to our international success."

Wylie added that importance of all sports implementing sound governance and effective administration was a key feature of Australia's Winning Edge, announced late last year, and the ASC remained committed to partnering with sports to improve on and off the field.

He continued "as part of the Winning Edge announcement, the ASC increased resources dedicated to assisting sport with issues such as governance, commercialisation and sustainability, coaching and leadership, talent identification and development, and sports will have access to this support to help them make these much-needed changes.

"To this end, national sporting organisations will be able to compete for $5 million worth of new funding per year that is available to sports for talent identification, innovation and high performance leadership development.

"I am pleased that we are now starting to see the progression of the Commission's long term plan for success through leadership on governance reform, the AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership, and new investment in a competitive innovation fund for national sporting organisations."

Federal Minister for Sport Kate Lundy has welcomed the release of the ASC's governance principles, stating "good governance and sound administration is a cornerstone of success in any business and the business of sport is no different.

"If we want to stay on the international podium, protect the integrity of sport and support a strong community sport sector we must have contemporary governance structures and behaviours that drive excellence on and off the field.

"These reforms are sensible – like improving organisation structures, improving board election processes and gender balance, and public company level requirements for sports financial reporting practices.

"The ASC will also require the boards of national sporting organisations to better supervise sports science practices.

"Importantly, the ASC is also announcing $5 million in new funding per year that is available to sports for talent identification, innovation and high performance leadership development. This funding aims to encourage sports to innovate and develop the next crop of athletes and high performance managers in their sports.

"The ASC is well places to drive these reforms, in particular because they have boosted their support to sports in key areas such as governance, commercialisation and sustainability.

"Some sports have very good governance structures in place, while others have a lot to learn. The ASC's task is now to work with all sports to share success stories and help sports that need to improve so all Australians can enjoy a stronger national sporting system."

Funded by the Australian Government, the Australian Sports Commission is Australia's independent primary national sports administration and advisory agency. On behalf of the Australian Government, the Commission plays a central leadership role in the development and operation of the Australian sports system, administering and funding innovative sport programs and providing leadership, coordination and support for the sport sector.

The Australian Sports Commission's new governance principles can be found at www.ausport.gov.au/ais/australias_winning_edge/mandatory_sports_governance_principles

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