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The 2012–13 year kicked off with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. I was fortunate enough to witness some great sporting moments. Two personal highlights were Jessica Fox’s silver medal in the K-1 event and Maddison Elliott’s three medal haul at the Paralympics. It was great to see two young Australians finish on the podium and to represent Australia with such pride and composure. Despite some wonderful performances, there has been a growing, compelling case for change in Australian high performance sport. This was further confirmed following the Woods Review into cycling and the Smith Review of swimming, and the downward trend in our Olympic performances.

The 2012–13 year was a busy year for the ASC, with a number of key announcements. Of particular note was the release of Australia’s Winning Edge: 2012–2022 and the launch and progression of a number of key actions that underpin the strategy, including: the introduction of a sharper, more robust national funding and accountability model; investment into key areas such as direct athlete support; coaching and high performance personnel and talent identification; and refocusing the AIS to grow its role as Australia’s national high performance agency. The transition out of scholarships is a significant shift for the AIS but necessary if we are to ensure continued success into the future. The AIS has been the cornerstone of our high performance system for the past 30 years and I commend what has been achieved by my predecessors and the AIS during this period. In its refined role the AIS will continue to be a leader of Australian high performance sport and a world leading organisation.

Australia’s Winning Edge is not solely about high performance sport. Outlined clearly within Australia’s Winning Edge are requirements related to integrity, governance and the importance of sports increasing commercial revenue and philanthropic investment. A key area of focus for the ASC has been in the area of governance. It is widely acknowledged that good governance is a necessary condition for success. This is true whether a national sporting organisation  (NSO) is focused on high performance or participation. The ASC built upon its long-standing Sport Governance Principles and introduced a set of mandatory governance principles for select sports. Within the principles, there are a number of elements that are critical to good governance and therefore to the achievement of outcomes under ASC funding. This sub-set will be non-negotiable requirements for NSOs to be eligible for full future funding from the ASC.  I commend the positive approach taken by sports to progress reform.

In April 2013 the ASC Board announced its funding allocations to NSOs for high performance success and for sports participation. This funding commitment included an investment of nearly $120 million in direct funding to sports, with $100 million of this for sports to deliver on the Australia’s Winning Edge targets. It also included an investment of an additional $5 million across 24 Olympic and Paralympic sports that made a strong performance case to the AIS. There were some important changes in our high performance funding model that focus our efforts on achieving outcomes linked to Australia’s Winning Edge.

There was some great news for the AASC program, with the program being extended for another year following the Commonwealth Budget announcement in May 2013. The AASC is the ASC’s flagship participation program, reaching some 190,000 children a semester.  I have had the opportunity to visit a number of sites across the country and have been impressed with the reach and activities on offer for children.  
Other important pieces of work in the year included:

  • developing and implementing a new national high performance investment model linked to targets and underpinned by a robust evidence base
  • playing a strengthened leadership role on governance, as reflected in the release of our mandatory governance principles
  • the production of the AIS Best Practice Sports Science/Sports Medicine Principles, which provide clear guidelines for sporting organisations as they tackle what is a complex but essential part of high performance sport — sports science and sports medicine
  • the release of two significant research reports — Market Segmentation for Sport Participation and Validation of the Playing for Life Philosophy, both of which examine the participation of children in sport
  • the launch of the AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership, one of the centrepieces of Australia’s Winning Edge, which has been established to deliver world best approaches to learning and development, formalise pathways for professional development for coaches and performance leaders, drive research and encourage innovation
  • establishing the Competitive Innovation Fund to encourage innovation in high performance sport
  • re-aligning the AASC program to bring it closer to sport and clubs.

The ASC continued to play an important role in the International Sport for Development area, providing resources, services and facilities related to sport. Of particular note was our pioneering work in the area of non-communicable diseases prevention. The ASC, in conjunction with AusAID, established the Healthy Islands through Sport initiative. The Healthy Islands through Sport initiative brings together key decision makers and implementers from ministries of health and ministries responsible for sport from 14 participating Pacific island countries, who discuss how sport can be used to combat non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. All those involved in the program are to be commended for their valuable work, which has been recognised by the World Health Organization as “groundbreaking and revolutionary”.

During the year we also revised our organisational structure to enable us to effectively deliver on our two outcomes and to ensure that we have the internal capabilities needed to deliver on our new strategic direction. While this was a difficult period for some staff, I thank them for their continued professionalism and commitment to the organisation. In further organisational news the ASC welcomed Anthony Moore to the Executive team in the role of General Manager, Participation and Sustainable Sports.

Looking ahead, I’m excited by the number of initiatives we have in place and the direction of sport in Australia. While there will no doubt be challenges along the way, I believe this is an exciting period for sport.
I am pleased to welcome the new Minister for Sport, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, who I am sure will also provide great leadership. To the management team of the ASC, thank you for your leadership and I would like to thank the staff at the ASC for their continued hard work, passion and shared commitment to Australian sport.

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.
650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.