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What is the ASC?

Sculpture on Michelle Martin Walk at the Australian Institute of Sport
The AIS is a key component of the Australian Sports Commission.

Who we are

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is a corporate Commonwealth entity within the Australian Government’s Department of Health portfolio. It was established in 1985 and operates under the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989. The ASC is governed by a board of commissioners appointed by the Australian Government. The board determines the ASC’s overall direction, decides on actual allocation of resources and policy for delegated decisions, and is accountable to the Minister of Sport and to Parliament.

The ASC is focused on getting more Australians participating and excelling in sport, by:

  • delivering key programs in line with the Australian Government’s sport policy objectives;
  • providing financial support and other assistance to national sporting organisations to deliver participation and high performance results and improve their capability, sustainability and effectiveness; and
  • building collaboration, alignment and effectiveness within the Australian sport sector.

The ASC is administered from Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Bruce campus. Other AIS operations are located in Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, as well as Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

What we do

The ASC is Australia’s primary national sports administration and advisory agency, and the cornerstone of a wide-ranging sports system. On behalf of the Australian Government, the ASC 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 ASC is recognised as a world leader in the development of high performance sport and sports participation. Services are provided in a range of fields including:

  • high performance coaching
  • sport sciences
  • sports information
  • sports management
  • facility management
  • education and resources
  • participation development
  • delivery of funding programs to national sporting organisations. 

National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework

The National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework, endorsed by the Commonwealth and State and Territory Ministers for Sport and Recreation in February 2011, provides the basis for continued collaborative work between Governments and includes clarification around the role of each layer of Australian sport.
The Framework provides a guide for the development and alignment of policies, strategies and programs for Governments, and defines priority areas for cooperation with underpinning objectives and measures.

Our mission

‘To lead the national sport sector and support national sporting organisations and other sector partners to deliver sport in Australia.’

Our plans

The ASC’s strategic plan for 2011-12 to 2014-14, Working Together for Australian Sport sets the direction, strategies and broad framework that allow the ASC to meet its statutory objectives and achieve its outcomes for government.

To achieve its mission, the ASC has identified three externally focused goals and one management goal:

Goal 1: Increased participation in sport

Goal 2: Increased international success

Goal 3: Sustainable sport

Goal 4: Enhanced ASC capability to lead, partner and support.

The ASC’s Annual Operational Plan outlines the activities that the ASC will undertake to deliver on the strategic plan and how it will measure its progress.

Our approach

The key parts of our mission are to lead the national sport sector and support national sporting organisations and other sector partners to deliver sport to Australians. The way in which we do this is important.

In leading the sector, we will work together with our partners, recognising that a shared approach that brings together expertise from a range of organisations will deliver greater results than any single agency working alone.

We commit to working in partnership with and bringing together key sport sector organisations as well as other agencies where appropriate to deliver on this plan.

We will support national sporting organisations and other sector partners to build their capability and sustainability. In doing this, we will listen to their specific requirements and be responsive to their needs.

We understand that our goals are interconnected, and success in any one area cannot be achieved in isolation from others.

We recognise that our goals cannot be achieved overnight. We are committed to taking a long-term strategic approach to our work, and progressively monitoring the success of our strategies and programs.

We will invest in organisations to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes, targeting our investment to organisations that are the most capable and ready to deliver on our outcomes, and holding them accountable for the delivery of results.

We will work to streamline our operations and maximise our outcomes for Government and the Australian sport sector.

We will hold ourselves accountable for what we do with our sport investment by increasing our focus on monitoring and measurement.

We will look to continually ‘raise the bar’ on our performance and that of our partners. We will identify and promote best practice from both here and overseas.

Sport in Australia

Sport is widely recognised as an integral part of Australian life, and the Australian Government provides funding for sport as an investment in the community in terms of national pride, improved health, economic activity and stronger communities. Our national sport sector is a partnership between the Australian Government (represented by the ASC and the Office for Sport in the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport), national sporting organisations and their affiliated bodies, state and territory government sports agencies, and other groups.

National sporting organisations rely on us for support and advice that helps them deliver world class high performance programs and encourage more community participation by making sports safer, more inviting and better managed. This means that all Australians — including coaches, people with disability, Indigenous Australians, juniors, officials, older people, volunteers, and women and girls — have opportunities to be involved.

Our commitment to developing a strong grassroots involvement in sport, as well as providing opportunities for developing elite excellence, means that the ASC:

  • incorporates the internationally acclaimed AIS which has primary responsibility for leading the strategic direction of high performance sport in Australia 
  • supports the development of the Australian sport sector from the grassroots to the high performance level.

ASC funding is carefully structured and applied to develop sport from the grassroots to the high performance level. The dual concepts of participation and elite pathways for athletes, coaches, officials and administrators lies at the heart of a sport’s effective planning processes. The ASC directs its funding to ensure these pathways are in place and are effective in delivering increased participation and continued international sporting success.

The ASC works closely with state and territory institutes and academies of sport through the National Elite Sports Council (NESC) and the National Institute Network (NIN), as well as national sporting organisations in the delivery of high performance sport. The National Institute System Intergovernmental Agreement (NISIA) provides guidance on how the sector will operate, with a principle focus on the delivery of the high performance plans of national sporting organisations.

The Committee of Australian Sport and Recreation Officials (CASRO), made up of the CEOs or equivalent of each state and territory department of sport and recreation, as well as the ASC and Office for Sport, has carriage of the implementation and monitoring of the National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework. 

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Did you know?

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.