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Sport Australia slammed for extravagant spending on offices and consultants

Sport Australia slammed for extravagant spending on offices and consultants
February 14, 2020

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.

Related Articles

13th February 2020 - National Audit Office advises 43% of successful Federal Government sports fund projects were ineligible

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 - Former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie bypassed Sport Australia board to authorise $2.5 million grant to Netball Australia

4th February 2020 - Kate Palmer departs Chief Executive role at Sport Australia

24th January 2020 - Executive who worked on Infrastructure Grant Program no longer at Sport Australia

16th January 2020 - Audit Office sports grants report cites ‘conflict of interest’ at Sport Australia

23rd December 2019 - Belgravia Leisure supports Sport Australia’s ‘Find Your 30’ campaign

11th December 2019 - Kate Palmer apologises for ‘unauthorised access’ following Sport Australia email hack

30th November 2019 - AIS and Sport Australia look to increase leadership depth and diversity in sport

8th November 2019 - Sport Australia advice ignored by former Federal Sports Ministers in award of community sport infrastructure funds

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

20th July 2018 - Social media stars paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote Girls make your Move campaign

8th May 2018 - Report suggests Australian Institute of Sport to shed 40 jobs at Canberra base

19th April 2018 - Ian Burns sets goal for AIS to be world leader in sport technology

20th March 2018 - Sports Commission’s Kate Palmer welcomes best performance at a Winter Paralympic Games since 2002

16th March 2017 - John Wylie reappointed to lead Australian Sports Commission through to the Tokyo Olympics

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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