The Federal Government has delivered a major boost to the preparations of Australia’s Para-athletes ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, with the announcement of $12 million in new funding.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an $8 million investment from his Government will help to effectively manage the planning, coordination and delivery of the Australian Paralympic Team aiming for success in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister made the announcement today in Sydney, NSW, at an event to launch the new Paralympics Australia brand, formerly known as the Australian Paralympic Committee.
Prime Minister Morrison said: “This new investment from the Federal Government will assist with the significant costs associated with delivering an Australian team of this size and complexity to the world’s premier event for athletes with a disability. It also recognises the Australian Paralympic Team’s unique and burgeoning place within Australian sport and the value it brings to the Australian people.
“I am proud that the Australian Government will be the key partner in ensuring the Australian Paralympic Team has the best possible chance to shine on the world stage in Tokyo. Our Paralympic hopefuls can now prepare with confidence, knowing the funds and support that they need and deserve to represent our country are secure.”
An additional $4 million will be directed to Paralympics Australia’s Victorian base for the construction of a Community, Education and Events Centre at its existing facility at Tullamarine. The new development, which will feature accessible accommodation and training facilities for Para-athletes and teams as well as a Paralympic museum, will be managed in partnership with the Essendon Football Club.
Paralympics Australia’s President Jock O’Callaghan said the funding boost and rebranding to Paralympics Australia completed a historic day for the Australian Paralympic movement.
“This new investment is a resounding vote of confidence from the Federal Government in the ability of Paralympics Australia to deliver an outstanding return on investment, and it confirms the evolving position of Paralympic sport within Australian society,” O’Callaghan said.
“I believe Para-sport and Para-athletes have come of age in Australia. The growing appreciation and respect for our Paralympians and the desire for greater equity and inclusion of Para-sport becomes more evident every day.
“This support will help to continue our wave of momentum heading towards Tokyo 2020 and beyond, so the benefits of sport continue to expand for people with disability, and ultimately lead to greater equity in all areas of life.”
Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie said the Australian Paralympic Team was a source of huge inspiration to all Australians.
“By helping to secure their ongoing success through this funding, it will inspire more and more Para-athletes to get involved in sport and physical exercise,” Minister McKenzie said.
“We want to build on the success of 2018 Winter Paralympic results, where Simon Patmore won Australia’s first gold medal in 16 years, and our Paralympians represent the best of our Australian values of dedication, hard work, excellence and good sportsmanship.”
Sport Australia’s Chairman John Wylie said the work of Paralympics Australia in recent years was an example for the wider sport sector to follow.
“Sport Australia has enjoyed and appreciated the collaboration and openness of Paralympics Australia, an organisation which has showed what can be achieved through improved governance and financial control under a harmonious and effective Board and management team,” Wylie said.
“We regard Paralympics Australia as a key partner organisation that helps us set standards for leadership in Australian sport. With Tokyo 2020 now a key focus for us, we are excited by what we can achieve together to harness the ongoing success of Paralympic sport in this country.”
Paralympics Australia is preparing to send one of Australia’s largest ever Paralympic Teams to Tokyo 2020 at a cost in excess of $10 million. Athletes from more than 15 sports will be supported by pilots and guides for athletes with a vision impairment, ramp assistants for boccia athletes, coaches, managers and operational personnel including medical, technical, and administration staff.
Paralympics Australia aims to raise the outstanding $2.5 million for the 2020 Team through fundraising efforts, corporate sponsors and state government support over the coming 18 months.
Paralympics Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Lynne Anderson said: “This Federal Government funding, along with our valued ongoing relationship with Sport Australia, is a huge boost in an ongoing challenge to attract government, corporate and community support.
“We will continue to work until our Paralympic hopefuls can prepare for each Summer and Winter Games without the worries that come with financial pressure and uncertainty.”
By Tim Mannion, Paralympics Australia