The Federal Government has today confirmed an investment of $50.6 million for high performance sport in an important announcement applauded by Paralympics Australia.
Delivered over the next two years, the funding will be critical to support national sporting organisations in their ongoing preparations for Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which have been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s announcement from Federal Minister for Youth and Sport Senator Richard Colbeck helps eliminate a great deal of uncertainty for Para-athletes and coaches according to Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan.
It also addresses the recent joint submission prepared by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), Paralympics Australia (PA) and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) which outlined a three-point plan for sport funding.
“We are grateful for the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to high performance sport, which has been solidified by this important announcement by Senator Colbeck today. This investment will enable our aspiring Paralympians to keep striving for Tokyo, Beijing and Birmingham with confidence and assurance,” O’Callaghan said.
“Like many industries, sport has been hit hard by COVID-19. But throughout the pandemic, the Paralympic Games preparations of Paralympics Australia and our partners has been relentless, as has the training and sacrifice of our athletes and coaches, despite the many challenges we have all been presented with.
“We are thrilled that the Federal Government recognises the value of investment in high performance sport during this time. It will allow our athletes and coaches to sharpen their focus on promoting strong health outcomes and ensuring they do the whole of Australia proud on the world stage when that chance does come again.”
Minister Colbeck said the measure ensures core funding for elite athletes and coaches is maintained at record levels and builds on the Morrison Government’s recent investments to support athlete wellbeing and pathways for young aspiring Olympians and Paralympians.
“Sport Australia will distribute the high performance grants to our national sporting organisations who will identify, train and develop their most promising athletes,” Minister Colbeck said.
“The Government is aware many national sporting organisations have had to stand down staff and reduce their hours because of COVID-19.
“Without this investment to high performance funding, there is a significant risk our best coaches and high performance support staff will face an uncertain future.”
With the future now looking more certain, Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Lynne Anderson said the impact will be immediate for national sporting organisations.
“This is such a pivotal time for Australian sport and what has become clear during COVID-19 is a greater need for its peak bodies to work even closer if we are to achieve our common goal,” Anderson said.
“The joint submission of the Three-Point Plan by PA, the AOC and CGA with the support of Sport Australia and the AIS is one of many recent examples of our united approach which has the capacity to enhance Australia’s place among the world’s best sporting nations.”
By Tim Mannion