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Sport Australia slammed for extravagant spending on offices and consultants
Sport Australia has been slammed by a media report that suggests it spent extravagantly on executive staff, office accommodation, training and recruitment consultants.
The report in yesterday’s edition of The Australian cites “swish offices” in Melbourne and Brisbane, spending of more than $8 million on executive training and an outlay of nearly $5 million on recruitment consultants.
The report by Senior Sports Writer Jessica Halloran and Foreign Correspondent Jacquelin Magnay, refers to “athletes who have been forced to turn to their parents for support” while “executives have been generously looked after, apparently at their expense”.
The Australian revealed that senior Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) executives are on “eye-watering salaries of more than $400,000 a year and that another handful of staff earn well over $220,000”, referring to AIS Chief Executive Peter Conde’s salary of $426,000 a year and former Sport Australia Chief Executive’s Kate Palmer annual salary of $452,000.
Further investigation by The Australian showed that Sport Australia spent $2,018,947 in 2018 and $2.785 million in 2019 to recruitment companies while also referencing leases of nearly $2 million for leases on office space in Brisbane and Melbourne up until 2021.
Referring to AIS executives who “prefer to fly in and out of the main AIS campus in Canberra rather than live there” it suggests that travel costs to attend meetings in Canberra have “skyrocketed in recent years”, with annual travel costs estimated to be more than $3 million.
In comparison, The Australian refers to funding that some sports receive such as water polo ($3.89 million a year); surfing ($2.73 million) or softball ($2.26 million).
The report also highlights $7 million spent on professional training from the Melbourne Business School and additional training provided by a former Melbourne Business School employee, Matt William whose company, Artem Consulting, billed the organisation for another $449,000 in four payments.
The Australian also flags payments to external physiotherapists and a sport psychologist - services that the AIS used to provide as part of the sports science and medicine unit.
Mike McGovern left the AIS but was rehired as a strategic consultant on $245,000 for a 12-month contract in 2018 and another short-term contract of $134,820 last year.
Another payment was to the Seven Network for $499,000 in June last year.
The documents show contracts to the ASC in 2018 included Balance Recruitment ($115,000 and $474,688); Hayes Specialist Recruitment, $125,000, $133,138 and $280,629; Hill Executive Group, $109,824; Hudson Global Resources (Aust) $274,428 and $172,260; Sports Recruitment International, $208,800; and Bastion Reputation Management $125,180.
Last year the same firms picked up contracts split between them of at least $2.8 million, including one worth $796,000 to Balance Recruitment.
Operating offices out of Canberra saw space in Brisbane leased from Colliers International from February 2018 to December this year at cost of $499,068 while a Melbourne office in Collins Street - leased from January 2015 to April 2021 - costing $1.47 million.
The report also reveals Sport Australia spending $17 million on marketing and advertising consultants over two years, including two payments to the Dentsu X company of $6.6 million and $492,700 and Universal McCann of $6.7 million and $209,000.
In July 2018 it was revealed that the Federal Department of Health had spent more than $600,000 in taxpayer funds to social media influencers to promote Sport Australia's Girls Make Your Move campaign.
Australasian Leisure Management is also aware of Sport Australia resourcing its daily Clearinghouse for Sport enews, which competes with private sector publishing ventures.
Recent representations to Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck and Sport Australia acting Chief Executive Robert Dalton on this have not been responded to.
Image show Sport Australia's Canberra headquarters.
11th February 2020 - Australian Institute of Sport announces latest Talent Program intake
5th February 2020 - Sport Australia confirm Robert Dalton as acting Chief Executive
4th February 2020 - Kate Palmer departs Chief Executive role at Sport Australia
23rd December 2019 - Belgravia Leisure supports Sport Australia’s ‘Find Your 30’ campaign
30th November 2019 - AIS and Sport Australia look to increase leadership depth and diversity in sport
28th October 2019 - Kate Palmer to step down from Sport Australia Chief Executive role
4th April 2019 - Sport Australia’s John Wylie welcomes Federal budget funding boost
25th February 2019 - Sport Australia launches second phase of ‘Move It AUS’ campaign
1st August 2018 - Sports Commission to rebrand as Sport Australia
19th April 2018 - Ian Burns sets goal for AIS to be world leader in sport technology
12th February 2017 - Top sport administrators in public dispute at Melbourne athletics event
1st September 2016 - Australian Sports Commission commits to Winning Edge principles and further reforms
1st August 2011 - AIS European Training Centre a key to London Olympics prospects
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