Many of you will be aware of the Crawford Review into ‘The Future of Sport in Australi
a’. Hopefully by the time you read this, the Federal Government will have provided a response to the various recommendations. Inevitably much of the discussion has been about funding, but a closer look at the report reveals some far reaching recommendations about the structure and delivery of sport in Australia. These have the potential to impact us all. The report calls for the development of a national vision for sport; initiatives to put sport and physical activity back into education; a focus and strengthening of community sport and a considerable restructuring of the high performance sport framework. Sailing is well positioned to benefit from many of the recommendations. We have strong infrastructure with many excellent, independently managed facilities, a willing and competent volunteer base and generally a positive and attractive ‘brand’. For us, perhaps one of the most significant elements of the Crawford Review is the issues that are identified around the structure of sport. Opportunities are identified for sports to share services and create cost efficiencies, perhaps sharing administrative support and aggregating activities. The IT platform that Yachting Australia has developed and which has been adopted by many yacht clubs is a good example. The on-line entry system launched recently gives clubs access to time-saving technology which would be out of the reach of individual organisations. However, the Review is very critical of the current ‘federated’ structure of most sports. “These overly complex structures mean most National Sporting Organisations are still struggling to gain consensus, alignment and the resources to create a nationally unified vision and product,” and “ The day of each state/territory having its own separate ‘company’ with its own chief executive officer(CEO) has surely passed. There is duplication across the country. The systems are incompatible. Each business is sub-scale which limits the capacity to hire and offer career progression to good people.” For some time now, Yachting Australia, with the state and territory associations, has been addressing this issue. The environment is changing and we must change in response. Does the structure we have now serve us well and will it do so into the future? If not, what changes should we make? Over the next few months, the debate about the structure of our sport and recreation here in Australia will continue. If you have views, please make sure you contribute. Phil Jones is the CEO of Yachting Australia.