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The 2013-14 year was one of consolidation for the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). After introducing Australia’s Winning Edge in late 2012, the ASC worked hard to build on the initiatives stemming from the strategy. There has been a particular focus on improving the financial performance and position of national sporting organisations (NSOs), improving governance structures and changing the role and work of the AIS. We have also worked closely with our partners to identify ways to enhance the commercialisation opportunities, increase broadcast exposure and reduce associated costs, and supported the Australian Sports Foundation as a vehicle for greater philanthropic investment into sport. Through the provision of support and advice, we are helping sports build their capacity to deliver world class high performance programmes and encourage more community participation. By making sports safer, more inviting and better managed, all Australians have increased opportunities to be involved.

Internally, the ASC embarked on a review of its operations to ensure that it is lean and agile. While this has resulted in some changes at the ASC, it provided an opportunity to review our own performance across a number of areas and identify organisational resources to be reinvested in initiatives that further support athletes and sport.

The year in review - highlights

Campaign Rio

The AIS, the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Paralympic Committee launched Campaign Rio, a collaborative partnership aimed at ensuring Australian athletes have the best possible planning and preparation ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Continued governance reform

Throughout the year the ASC continued to work closely with sports to improve their governance structures and standards. We’ve seen progress across a number of sports including swimming, cycling, rowing and basketball as well as sports that were not subject to the mandatory governance principles.

National Coaching Accreditation Scheme and National Officiating Accreditation Scheme

The ASC launched a series of workshops to highlight changes to its national coaching and officiating schemes — a move that will assist the sports sector to improve the sporting experience of all Australians.

AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership

As a key element of Australia’s Winning Edge, the AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership was established to deliver this world’s best approaches to learning and development, formalise pathways for professional development for coaches and performance leaders, drive research, and encourage innovation.

In 2013, the Centre welcomed its first intake of participants in the Performance Coach programme and the Performance Leaders programme. While in 2014, the Podium Coach programme welcomed its first intake of participants. The Centre offers a range of open learning opportunities throughout the year and has been developed in partnership with Melbourne Business School.

Pacific Sports Partnership grants

In July 2013 the Government announced that 11 Australian NSOs had been selected to receive funding through the second phase of the Pacific Sports Partnerships programme. The Government committed $14 million through Australia’s aid programme, which is administered by the ASC. The grants help the NSOs work with their regional partners in the Pacific to deliver sport-based programmes that achieve key social development objectives.

Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games

The 2014 Australian Olympic team was Australia’s largest Winter Olympic team with 60 athletes representing 10 of the 15 sports on the Sochi programme. Of significant note was that 31 of the Australian competitors were women, making it also the first Australian Olympic team — Summer or Winter — with more female than male athletes. At the Games, Australia equalled its best ever total medal haul of three medals — two silvers and a bronze — and achieved 15 top-10 finishes. Australia’s increasing depth in winter sports is highlighted at each and every Games - a promising sign for PyeongChang in 2018.

At the Paralympics in Sochi, Australia sent a team of nine athletes, including three para-snowboarders for the first time, and two sighted guides. Despite facing some challenging weather conditions, Australian athletes claimed two bronze medals and in doing displayed the skills and attributes that enable athletes to reach their goals — determination and resilience. Also at the Games, bronze medalist Toby Kane was also awarded the International Paralympic Committee’s Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award for exemplifying the Paralympic spirit during the Games. While we celebrated the achievements of our athletes during the Games period, it was with some sadness following the passing of Matthew Robinson. Matthew’s absence is felt right across the Australian sporting community and our thoughts remain with his family and friends.

Outlook

The health benefits of physical activity are well understood and the Government’s announcement to support the Sporting Schools initiative from 1 January 2015 was a major boost for grassroots sport participation. This programme will see national sports and schools work closely together to deliver quality sport-based activity. It will double the number of primary schools currently being serviced by the Active After-school Community (AASC) programme, which means more children will be able to improve their physical literacy and enjoy sport in the familiar school setting. The programme will play a central role in the ASC’s participation work, which will continue to be refined.

The ASC will also launch the Market Segmentation for Volunteers study — the most comprehensive analysis and profiling of sport volunteers to date. The study identifies segments in the Australian community with the greatest potential for recruitment of new sport volunteers, as well as practices and strategies for the retention of current volunteers. It also provides insights for the sport sector to better understand their volunteer workforce and how they might need to manage them into the future. The study reaffirms our commitment to develop initiatives and share an evidence base with the sports sector to help plan for, and shape, the delivery of sport for future generations.

We will also progress the AIS Personal Excellence strategy, implementing a number of initiatives to support athletes in making informed decisions both on and off the field. In other high performance related areas, we will continue to evolve the Australia’s Winning Edge high performance investment model to ensure resources are targeted and prioritised to deliver performance outcomes aligned with Australia’s Winning Edge. We will also review the performance management framework to ensure NSOs can achieve agreed outcomes and to hold them accountable for their performance.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Health and Sport, for his continued support of Australian sport and its athletes. I thank the ASC Board for its leadership and guidance. I also extend my appreciation to all of the dedicated people working across the ASC. Their commitment to sport is much-admired, and I thank them for their hard work, commitment and professionalism throughout the year. Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the many people, past and present, that have been involved in the AASC programme over the past 10 years. The programme has played an important role in promoting sport and encouraging children to become physically active. While we move on to an exciting new programme in Sporting Schools, your contribution to the past success of the AASC programme is recognised and leaves a great legacy for thousands of Australian children.


Simon Hollingsworth
Chief Executive Officer

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Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.