The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has welcomed the Australian Government’s extension of high performance sport funding through to the 2024 Paris Games, that will enable sports to plan further ahead with greater certainty.
Australian Sports Commission Chair Josephine Sukkar AM, and AIS CEO Peter Conde, both welcomed last night’s Federal Budget, with the Australian Government announcing a boost of $132.8 million over the next three years for the AIS to carry on supporting Australian high performance sport.
The Budget extension through to 2023-24 means the AIS will be able to give sports greater clarity over their long-term funding in preparations for the 2024 Paris Games. It also enables the AIS to continue the sporting system’s strong progress in performance pathways for developing and emerging athletes, as well as athlete wellbeing.
“National Sporting Organisations have been asking for longer-term funding so they can plan further ahead, and so we thank the Australian Government for delivering this high performance funding right through to Paris 2024,” Sukkar said.
“This Budget helps future-proof Australian high performance sport as it also enables us to start laying the foundations for a potential home Games in Brisbane in 2032. It is a huge show of support for our current Australian athletes, but also a wonderful commitment to developing our champions of the future.”
The postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be held from July to September and Conde said the AIS would confirm high performance funding to sports for the 2024 Paris cycle by the end of the calendar year.
“Our goal is to create a successful and sustainable Australian sporting system, so this is an enormous step,” Conde said. “The AIS currently provides funding to 56 high performance programs across Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games competition, there are more than 2,600 athletes being supported in the Australian high performance system at any one time. This funding extension will have widespread impact.”
A total of $82.2 million will be invested over the next three years to enable the AIS to carry on its crucial work developing performance pathways for emerging athletes, along with athlete mental health and wellbeing.
“Our work in performance pathways over the past two years has created 126 jobs across sports, boosting a workforce that is dedicated to supporting the progress of Australia’s most talented young athletes. Over the same period, we’ve provided more than $15.4 million in Pathways Solutions grants to 33 different sports, delivering projects in areas such as talent identification, coach development and athlete health.”
The AIS established an Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team in 2018 and Conde said the renewed funding would enable that vital work to continue.
“Three years ago, the AIS presented a vision to the Australian Government to enhance athlete wellbeing services, including in the area of mental health.
We’ve been able to establish vital services such as the AIS Mental Health Referral Network and a national network of 33 Athlete Wellbeing managers in sports right across the country, we’ve launched initiatives to support outstanding high performance sporting cultures, including a sharpened focus on holistic coach development.
“These world-leading services have been able to support Australian sport through a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic. Our focus on athlete wellbeing has never been greater and we want to continue enhancing those services. We want to support athletes to be successful in sport and life.”
“The funding injection from this Budget will also have a direct impact on financial support for athletes, allowing us to provide more than $14 million each year in direct athlete grants, known as dAIS.”
The AIS also welcomed further funding to support high performance sporting events and programs including:
$3.5 million for increased operational costs for the Australian Paralympic Team’s participation in the Tokyo Paralympic Games due to the impact of COVID-19.
$5 million to Basketball Australia to plan and deliver the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Australia and increase female participation and leadership in basketball.
$12 million to Football Australia to support the Matildas high performance program in the lead up to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including community engagement to encourage more participation in football by women and girls.