Paralympics Australia has applauded the Federal Government’s increased commitment to sport, with confirmation of significant new investment in the 2019 Federal Budget.
The $385.4 million package for sport and physical activity has been acknowledged by Sport Australia’s Chairman John Wylie as the one of the biggest funding injections for sport in years, and follows $12 million announced in February for Paralympic athletes aiming for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
More than $158 million of new investment will go directly to Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport, helping to fund community participation initiatives and additional support for Australia’s high performance athletes.
An additional $54.1 million will be invested in high performance sport for athlete pathways and wellbeing, plus school and community infrastructure programs will also be expanded.
Paralympics Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Lynne Anderson said this commitment comes at a critical time for Australian sport.
“Para-sport continues to demonstrate a high return on investment, not just in relation to medals won by our athletes, but in the increased physical and mental wellbeing for Australians with a disability compared to those who don’t have access to sporting opportunities,” Anderson said.
“Australian sport needs funding support like this to grow high performance sport and participation opportunities at the grassroots level, and to help deliver on the National Sports Plan – Sport 2030.”
“The resounding feedback we are receiving from our stakeholders is that talent identification, supporting athlete pathways, and the high cost of Para-sport equipment are the most important issues facing our movement, and we are pleased that this new funding is targeted at addressing these issues across sport.
“With the additional funding announced this week, we look forward to working with Sport Australia and the AIS on growing our ability to identify and nurture new Paralympic talent, enhancing our athlete wellbeing programs and developing innovative technological solutions to support athlete development.”
Paralympics Australia also praised the $23.6 million in funding to help national sporting organisations to deliver diversity and inclusion programs in regional Australia, and the $1.8 million to support the hosting of the INAS (International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments) Global Games in Brisbane, QLD, this October.
“The Paralympic movement is experiencing a wave of momentum, but with our growth, comes additional responsibility and challenges,” Anderson said.
“We know that the performances of Australia’s Para-athletes can positively influence all Australians, not just those with a disability, as last year’s overwhelming response from fans at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games demonstrated.
“Australian sport is at its best when we are all working together, and Paralympics Australia is looking forward to working with all of our partners to continue delivering great outcomes for Australia’s Paralympic athletes.”
By Paralympics Australia