Setting a new direction for Australian sport

29 Apr 2008

At just 30, Kate Ellis became the youngest minister to be appointed to the portfolio of Sport and Youth and she is delighted to be taking on the new role.

Ms Ellis is ready and determined to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead as the Australian Government sets a new direction for Australian sport with the release of its national policy paper: Australian Sport: emerging challenges, new directions.

‘We need new directions to meet emerging challenges of sport and to maintain our status as one of the world’s great sporting nations,’ Ms Ellis said.

‘If we are to safeguard the future of Australian sport, we must be prepared to embrace necessary reform.’

The new directions paper focuses on two key areas of reform: building on the nation’s reputation for sports excellence and success in elite competition and boosting the participation and physical activity to benefit a healthier nation.  

A new direction in Australian sport also sees a change in leadership on the Board of the Australian Sports Commission which comprises a mix of experienced sports administrators and Olympians.  

New appointees to the ASC Board include Liz Ellis, former Australian Netball captain, national rugby league sports administrator David Gallop and Olympians Kate Allen (nee Slatter), Kyle Vander Kuyp and Sally Carbon.  

ASC Chairman Peter Bartels and newly appointed Deputy Chairman Greg Hartung will provide leadership and direction for the Australian Sports Commission going forward.

Secretary of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing Jane Halton and Olympian Alisa Camplin make up the rest of the ASC Board members. 

‘The talents and experience of the incoming Commission members match the new direction of the Government’s sports policy and I trust they will make valuable contributions to Australian sport,’ Ms Ellis said.

‘We also acknowledge and appreciate the retiring Commission members who have been great servants and supporters of Australian sport.’ 

The new directions paper outlines key aims for the growth and success of Australian sport which include boosting participation and volunteerism at the grassroots level and keeping kids physically active. 

The ASC’s Active After School Communities program has a big role to play in the preventative health agenda.

Other leading initiatives outlined by the new directions paper include promoting the status of women in sport; improving the delivery of Indigenous sport and boosting support and recognition for athletes with a disability.

Ms Ellis said it’s fitting that the sports portfolio now sits within the Department of Health and Ageing.

‘The Government will ensure that sport and physical activity play a key role in our preventative health agenda,’ Ms Ellis said. 

‘Sport can play a major role in promoting healthier lifestyles and positive physical activity habits.’ 

Ms Ellis says the new directions paper also reinforces the Australian Government’s commitment to ensuring the future success of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and maintaining its reputation as one of the world’s premier centres of sports excellence. 

‘The AIS makes a significant contribution to Australia’s sporting success by training and preparing Australian athletes and teams competing at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and world championships,’ Ms Ellis said.

Kate Ellis says the Australian Government will use the new directions paper to help to guide and build a stronger participation base for the future growth and success of Australian sport.

Australian Sport: emerging challenges, new directions is available from:

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Did you know?

Matt Cowdrey is Australia's winner of the most Paralympic medals, having won 23 Gold, 7 Silver and 3 Bronze medals.

Quick numbers

141 thousand people have so far completed the ASC online coaching course.
10 current or former AIS athletes won medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
56 current or former AIS athletes won medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
35 thousand kilometres were swum by Petria Thomas while at the AIS.
26 thousand people have so far completed the ASC online officiating course.
0.5 million people visit the AIS each year.