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The outstanding achievements of Australia’s Para-athletes and consistent success at past Paralympic Games will be rewarded with a significant funding boost ahead of next year’s Tokyo Games, the  Winter Paralympics and Commonwealth Games in 2022 and beyond.

Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan has applauded today’s announcement from the Federal Government of an additional investment of $3.02 million from 2021/22 for 13 Paralympic high-performance programs.

It confirms a 40 per cent increase in Paralympic high performance funding by the Federal Government since 2012, which – significantly – for the first time raises the percentage investment to approximately 20 percent of the total AIS high performance investment provided to all able-bodied and disability sport programs. The figure is indicative of Australian society, in which more than four million people have a disability.

O’Callaghan said the additional funding would also bring backing for Australia’s Para-sports into line with many of our major overseas competitors.

“We believe this is a significant moment in the evolution of Paralympic sport in Australia. We are proud and thankful that the Federal Government recognises the value and impact of growing investment into Paralympic sport and has entrusted us with greater responsibility to lead and grow our movement even further.”

“We are grateful to the Minister for Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck and the Federal Government for such a strong endorsement of what our magnificent Para-athletes achieve for our sporting culture, but also Australian society more broadly,” O’Callaghan said.

“I also want to warmly acknowledge and thank Sport Australia, particularly its Chair John Wylie, and the AIS led by Peter Conde for sharing our vision for more equitable funding for Australia’s Paralympians and for acknowledging the unique and irreplaceable contribution that Paralympic sport is making.”

Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Officer Lynne Anderson said the announcement represents a fair outcome which will help Australia’s Paralympians and aspiring Paralympians continue to shine on the world stage.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in the Australian Paralympic Team’s ability to make our nation proud. Our movement has come a long way thanks to the incredible performances of our athletes and the system we have all built to support them with so many challenges along the way.

“Together, we have a proven record of converting government funding across several departments into effective program and performance success. Today’s announcement and the way it’s being implemented gives those sports and their Para-athletes every chance to continue the trajectory we’ve been on, especially since the London Games in 2012.”

“The collaboration between Paralympics Australia, the national sporting organisations and the AIS has consistently delivered results.

“But of course, we know that with more support comes more responsibility and expectation and we need to be able to continue to deliver results. We are in no doubt about that,” Anderson said.

The increase is part of an overall commitment of $115 million to Paralympic, Olympic and Commonwealth Games sports for the 2021/22 financial year.

The funding will be delivered through the Australian Institute of Sport. Importantly, it will be directed to national sporting organisations to enable them to expand their Paralympic programs and increase their capacity to achieve performance outcomes at benchmark events.

The 13 Para-sport high performance programs receiving an increase in funding are: archery; athletics; wheelchair basketball; cycling; paddle; equestrian; rowing; wheelchair rugby; triathlon; table tennis; shooting; swimming and bowls (a sport that does not feature at the Paralympic Games but is contested at the Commonwealth Games).

By: Tim Mannion and David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 28 October 2020
Image (c) Megumi Masuda