Launch of Australia's Winning Edge 2012-2022: ASC Chair John Wylie

Uploaded by ausport on 09.12.2012

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce the new chairman of the Australian Sports
Commission, Mr John Wylie.
Thank you Simon and what a wonderful video that was.
To the Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport, Multicultural Affairs and Assisting
Industry and Innovation; to sporting organisation presidents and CEOs here today; to athletes,
coaches and other distinguished guests.
Welcome to the MCG, the spiritual home of Australian sport, for today’s significant
announcement - an important juncture in Australian sport.
I respectfully acknowledge that we meet today on the traditional land of the Wurundjeri
people of the Melbourne area and the Kulin nation, traditional owners and custodians
of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.
Ladies and gentlemen, as Chair of the Australian Sports Commission, I am delighted today to
launch our new strategy for Australian high performance sport.
While the focus today is on our high performance sporting system, the Australian Sports Commission
also has responsibility for investment in and promotion of broad community participation
in sport and in ensuring that values of integrity in sport are upheld.
These are fundamental goals of the Commission, equal in importance to elite international
Our new high performance strategy, called Australia’s Winning Edge, proposes simple
but far-reaching changes in how the Australian Sports Commission will invest to improve our
international sporting performance for the next decade and beyond.
And change is essential.
We all know and love the fact that Australia is a proud sporting nation with a phenomenal
history of international success and achieving against the odds.
We have achieved beyond expectation for many years based on our ability to unearth, develop
and support champions, and our sheer love of sport.
The fact that I can just say the first names of people, and you know who they are, is instructive:
Catherine, Ian, Sally, Dawn, Herb, Ricky, Ron, the Don, Wally, Yvonne, Betty, Cadel
and Petria, just to name a few.
The outstanding performances of our Paralympians in London also show what we are capable of.
The Australian Paralympic team ranked equal fourth on gold medals in London, with 32 gold
out of an 85 total medal haul.
However, as much as we might like it to be the case, past success is no guarantee of
future performance. The evidence shows the challenge ahead.
Olympic Games results since Sydney show the following.
Our performances have been declining.
Australia is winning less total medals each Games than the one before.
Australia is also achieving less top eight placings – the launching pad to the podium.
And our conversion of those top 8 placings into medals is below the average of the top
15 nations at the Games.
This trend goes beyond just the Olympic Games.
2012 is likely to see the lowest number of Australian world champions across priority
sports in the past twelve years – an average of 17 across the year and 13 currently, slightly
more than half the level of a decade ago.
This is not in any way to diminish the achievements of our athletes, who remain as talented, committed,
passionate, hard working and fiercely competitive as ever.
But the plain truth is that success at the pinnacle of international sport is today much
more difficult to achieve than in the past, and that international competition in sport,
as in business, is intensifying and improving every day.
So as the dust settles from the London Games, there is much to be done.
While the system is far from broken, the case for significant improvement is clear.
The Commission’s approach in this task is informed by six simple principles.
First, success in elite international sport matters to Australians.
It’s central to who we are as a people; it sets a positive example to all Australians
about achievement, endeavour, courage, integrity, sportsmanship, healthy lifestyles and community
cohesion; and it enhances our standing on the world stage.
Second, we will not lower our expectations for success and achievement in international
The Crawford Report into sport a few years ago advocated a lowering of expectations.
We reject that notion.
Thirdly, we have an obligation to all Australians to ensure that the investment of their money
in high performance sport – around $170 million per year – is made as wisely and
effectively as possible.
Substantial opportunities appear to exist today to improve efficiency, reduce duplication,
reduce complexity, and improve collaboration in the Australian sporting system. These can
and must be addressed.
Fourth, our high performance goals have to be achieved within existing Government funding.
In these challenging economic times, it is not reasonable to expect, nor will we ask
for, more Government funding.
Fifth, our funding for general sports participation programs must not be impacted by changes in
our high performance system. Promoting broad community participation in sport is and remains
equal in importance to the Commission as high performance success.
And sixth, our commitment to integrity in sport remains paramount - a non-negotiable
requirement for our athletes and sports, irrespective of our hunger for success.
But change we must and will.
Until now, there has been an absence of clear goals for which sports, and the Australian
Sports Commission, can be held accountable.
It is plainly apparent around the world that elite sport has become a hard-nosed business.
If we’re going to be successful in this environment, we have to have a business plan
ourselves, that starts with clear and measurable goals and objectives.
So Australia’s Winning Edge articulates, for the first time, a clear set of transparent
goals for Australian sport.
These targets will sharpen the focus of all involved in sport, including ourselves at
the Commission.
Our targets reflect what we believe is attainable and are about sustained success.
We are committed to achieving: top 5 in the Olympic Games and retaining our top 5 position
in the Paralympic Games; 20 or more world champions every year; number one nation in
the Commonwealth Games; and a top 15 finish in the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
This is a real challenge - we clearly understand the magnitude of the task ahead for the Commission,
for Australian sport and for our athletes and coaches.
But we are also willing to show faith, back our athletes and adjust the way we invest
in sport to give them every opportunity to realise their dreams and those of the nation
with them.
One thing I’ve learnt from business is that targets are meaningless without a clear link
to actions.
That is why I am also announcing today, alongside Australia’s Winning Edge, a new set of principles
for investment in high performance sport by the Commission.
These are transparent, uncompromising, business-like and will apply to all high performance sports
funded by the Commission.
They are also a first for Australia.
CEO Simon Hollingsworth will say more about these shortly, however these principles link
investment to: contribution by sports to Australia’s Winning Edge targets - our investment will
be explicitly designed to improve the prospects for international success over the short,
medium and long term; and high standards of governance, accountability and commercial
acumen being demonstrated by sports, which should allow them amongst other things to
increase their revenues over time from sources other than the Government.
Accountability, governance and smart management matter for many reasons.
They matter as a point of principle because many Olympic sports are spending primarily
taxpayer money on high performance programs, and a lot of it.
They matter because they are prerequisites for success in a world where international
competitors are sharply better organised and funded than even a decade ago.
Witness the transformation in British sporting achievement at the London Olympics, a performance
it would be foolish to attribute solely to a hometown effect.
And they also matter if our traditional ASC funded sports want to remain competitive here
in our own backyard, facing ever-better funded and administered professional sporting code
So we are putting the onus on sports to step up and rise to the challenge of the new competitive
environment, abroad and at home.
What must go hand in hand with increased accountability being placed on sports, is for the sports
to be given increased responsibility to make their own decisions on implementation of their
high performance programs - in close consultation of course with the AIS and the Commission,
given the taxpayer money involved.
In this way, sports meeting ASC governance requirements will genuinely own their national
plans and have the freedom to implement them accordingly.
The Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport (the AIS) need to lead from the front
on change, and we will.
As a result we will make a number of changes in our own organisation.
The Board of the ASC has decided to simplify the high performance investment process to
one sole-source approach, managed by the AIS as Australia’s national high performance
Accountability and responsibility within the Commission will be transparent and clear,
compared to the current structure where two internal groups allocate high performance
funding to the same sports.
As a result, life will also become a lot simpler for sports seeking funding from the Commission.
This change will strengthen the AIS’s role as the centrepiece of Australia’s high performance
I want to emphasise this point, these changes will strengthen the role of the AIS at the
centre of Australian high performance sport.
The AIS will remain wholly owned by the Australian Sports Commission, so the Commission will
retain active oversight of the high performance system.
There will be changes in the way AIS programs are delivered, which Simon will speak to shortly.
Program delivery and allocation mechanisms might change, but overall funding across sports
in total will not be reduced.
The final key plank of this direction is in fact the most important: to provide more support
for those who step up into the arena, the pool, the track, the field, and eventually
the podium – the athletes.
Through the AIS, we will seek to increase financial support mechanisms for athletes
and coaches to ensure that our athletes have the right support at the right time along
their pathway to international success.
Ladies and gentlemen, we believe that Australia’s Winning Edge strikes the right balance between
empowering sports and getting the best resources to athletes and coaches, while putting in
place strong accountabilities.
By working together with our partner sporting organisations, with a clear and aligned strategy,
I have no doubt we will achieve the Winning Edge for Australia.
Exciting times lie ahead for Australian sport.
The Sochi Winter Games and Glasgow Commonwealth Games are looming large on the horizon and
planning and preparation for the 2016 Rio Games is already underway.
In 2018, we welcome the Commonwealth Games back to Australia and will show our sporting
strength on home soil.
In between there are a multitude of world championships, world cups, grand slams, test
series, Ashes campaigns and international competitions to savour.
The Australian Sports Commission believes that the strategy will make us genuinely match
fit to enjoy the success in the future that we have enjoyed in the past.