Chief Executive Officer's message

Simon Hollingsworth

Simon Hollingsworth


For the ASC, 2014–15 was about further enhancing Australians’ passion for playing sport and celebrating our national sporting heroes.

Sport is good for Australians, with many benefits from health and wellbeing to educational performance and economic impact. Participating in sport as a player or volunteering on the sidelines, or coming together to watch our nation’s best, helps build our sense of community.

With Australia’s Winning Edge into its third year and the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games just around the corner, the launch of the ASC’s participation game plan Play.Sport.Australia. in March rounded out the Commission’s strategy to deliver positive sporting outcomes from the grassroots up to the elite level.

This year the ASC welcomed Mr Michael Thomson as General Manager in our Participation and Sustainable Sports Division. His diverse experience is proving to be a valuable asset in helping sporting organisations deliver better commercial results and programmes for participants.

In December the ASC wound up the Active After-school Communities (AASC) programme following a decision by the Australian Government to expand further the sporting opportunities for children at local schools. During its time, the nation-wide programme engaged 2 million students in more than 6,000 schools and Out of School Hours Care Services (OSHCS) over a 10-year period. January 2015 saw the start of the Australian Government’s $100 million Sporting Schools initiative. Sporting Schools has been designed to enable schools to deliver sport before, during and after school hours to get children active, engaged and having fun.

The Sports Tally 2015 report shows that we are making good progress toward improving our overall position from the 2012 London Olympic Games. Should this happen in Rio, it will be the first time since the 2000 Olympics an Australian team has improved its position from the previous games. As of June 2015, Australia had 27 able-bodied and 26 Paralympic world champions across a wide range of Winning Edge sports.

Meanwhile a major focus for the Commission throughout the past year has been helping our NSOs improve their governance. In June the ASC updated its Mandatory Sports Governance Principles, which underpin the governance regulations for Australian sports, and sports are assessed against these each year. All sports receiving more than $1.5 million from the government are now subject to these mandatory principles.

The year in review — highlights

The release of Play.Sport.Australia.

The ASC launched Play.Sport.Australia. in March 2015, a bold strategy designed to have more Australians playing organised sport, more often. Part of this strategy was developing a new participation investment model for NSOs providing a simpler, more consistent and transparent approach to participation funding, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the ASC’s Annual Sports Performance Review.

Governance reforms

In the past year the ASC has worked closely with Athletics Australia to enact some of the key structural changes recommended the Independent Review of Athletics in Australia. The ASC also provided additional financial assistance to the Australian Paralympic Committee and Cycling Australia to assist the respective boards set about repairing structural and financial issues.

Sporting Schools

Within six months, the ASC successfully gained the support of more than 30 NSOs for Sporting Schools, executed 10 successful pilot programmes, and registered more than 3,600 primary schools, 1,200 coaches and more than 400 coaching providers for this national sport-based programme.

Volunteers study

As part of its commitment to evidence-based decision making, the ASC published the Market Segmentation Study for Volunteers in August. The study identifies segments in the community with the greatest potential for recruitment of sport volunteers, and strategies to retain volunteers.

AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership

As this programme enters its third year, it is on track to exceed its target of having at least 90 coaches and performance leaders graduate from specialist training. The three flagship programmes have seen 38 participants graduate and a further 74 are enrolled, drawn from 31 different sports.

Personal Excellence/myAISplaybook

The ASC launched the Personal Excellence initiative in October 2014 to provide athletes with guidance and educational opportunities to help them become more professional, accountable and resilient in their approach towards sport and life. A major component of this is the myAISplaybook, an online athlete-only virtual community where athletes on their sporting journey communicate and learn from each other across all sports.

Direct athlete funding — dAIS

The ASC also launched a comprehensive new system of direct financial support for Australia’s world class and emerging athletes. The $12 million grants programme represents a $3.6 million increase — or 40 per cent — in funding direct to athletes since the launch of Australia’s Winning Edge in 2012.

AIS Sports Draft

Athletes recruited in 2014 for combat sports, women’s rugby 7s, kayak and canoe and track cycling came together for a camp at the AIS in April 2015. The 22 athletes and 12 coaches spent two days attending information sessions and sharing experiences of transitioning from one sport to another with the aim of competing at the Olympic level. Together with the Australian Paralympic Committee the AIS also launched the inaugural Para-sport draft focussed on the sports of athletics, cycling, swimming, canoeing, rowing, triathlon, table tennis, boccia, para-alpine and para-snowboarding. Applications for the 2015 sports draft and para-sports draft opened in June.

Australians star in the NBA finals

Australian basketball deservedly received world-wide attention with Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova battling it out during the 2015 NBA finals. Both Bogut and Dellavedova were products of the AIS basketball programme in Canberra, now known as the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence. All seven Australians currently in the NBA competition took part in the programme.

Matildas fly high at Women’s World Cup

Australia’s Matildas football team captured the nation’s attention at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada, reaching the quarter-finals where they lost to Japan 1-0. Their road to becoming the first Australian team to win a football world cup knockout game began at the AIS. The specially installed FIFA-accredited synthetic pitch helped the team prepare for the tough competition.

National Officiating Scholarship programme

A record number of female officials took part in the prestigious 2015 National Officiating Scholarship programme. For the first time in the programme’s 13-year history, rugby league, rugby union and cricket all nominated female referees and umpires. There were eight female officials among the group of 22 successful applicants.

World Class to World Best

This three-day conference in November 2014 attracted 300 delegates from high performance sporting organisations and related fields to share knowledge and experience in high performance sport in Australia, and discuss the campaign to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.


Participation will continue to be a major focus for the ASC throughout 2015–16.

With Sporting Schools officially commencing in July 2015, Australia’s primary school communities will deliver more sport to more children. By bringing local sporting communities, NSOs and schools together Sporting Schools aims to nurture children’s love of sport and develop their lifelong commitment to sport.

The Our Sporting Future conference on the Gold Coast in October 2015 will provide participants with the opportunity to learn and contribute to discussions on the future of Australia's sporting industry.

The Australian Government will invest more than $134 million directly into NSOs over the next financial year, with money allocated for high performance and participation outcomes. Work also continues towards a new national participation survey, AusPlay, to better understand participation trends in Australia, inform policy decisions and guide sports strategy with strong evidence. Information will be widely available to the sector to enable informed decision-making and investment.


I would like to thank the Honourable Sussan Ley MP, Minister for Sport, and her predecessor the Honourable Peter Dutton MP, for their support of Australian sport, its athletes and the ASC. 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, contribution and professionalism throughout the year. I would also like to thank the schools, sporting bodies and people across the country working hard to make Sporting Schools a success. The swell of early support for this exciting programme would not have been achieved if not for your enthusiasm and dedication. And lastly, thanks to our nation’s athletes and supporters — from grassroots to elite levels. Your commitment and drive inspires, entertains and challenges us, making Australia’s sporting culture something to be proud of.

Simon Hollingsworth

Chief Executive Officer