Launch of Australia's Winning Edge 2012-2022: AIS Director Matt Favier

Uploaded by ausport on 11.12.2012

Can I now introduce the Director of the Australian Institute of Sport, Matthew Favier.
Thank you Simon and welcome ladies and gentlemen.
I would particularly like to thank the athletes who are present here today for the launch
of Australia’s Winning Edge – for whom as Simon has already mentioned that this launch
is focussed.
Every athlete’s story is unique.
As a former athlete, coach and now administrator – I know from experience that there are
many paths to the podium.
At the heart of the announcements today is a recognition that the AIS remains committed
to supporting Australian athletes on their individual journeys and with a redefined focus
on supporting Australia’s high performance aspirations.
High performance sport is a dynamic and contemporary business, with an international environment
that is increasingly competitive.
There was no better opportunity to experience the evolving nature of high performance sport
than with my time in the UK that included the planning and preparation for the 2012
London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In London, Australia entered an environment – and an Olympic and Paralympic competition
– where we experienced the full effect of the shift in investment and strategy from
a number of nations, not just Great Britain.
The London Games, however, enabled Great Britain to redefine its high performance approach
with a blueprint for investment, high performance management and sport engagement – and Team
GB’s results now speak for themselves.
In the short time I have been in post as AIS Director, I have had the opportunity to reflect
on Australia’s performance at the London Games and consider them in the context of
our high performance strategy in the future.
A key shift in my area of work will be to redefine the AIS and the role of the AIS as
Australia’s high performance agency tasked with the strategic leadership of high performance
sport in Australia.
This includes assuming responsibility for all high performance funding to partner sports.
This function has previously been split across two divisions within the Australian Sports
The other key change for the AIS is it will transition out of direct sports programs and
focus on the key areas of core sports servicing and delivery - biomechanics, medicine, physiology,
nutrition, innovation and research.
I’m encouraged by the strong commitment across the sector to address areas of need
and embrace a way of working that will increase our chances of repeated and sustained success.
It needs to be made very clear that the intent of the AIS isn’t changing – our overarching
goal remains to work in close partnership with sports and the National Institute Network
and sector partners, to increase the likelihood that we will achieve international success
for Australian athletes and teams.
The role of the AIS will grow nationally and as far as the iconic campus in Canberra is
concerned, we expect it will be used more often by more people.
Among the other benefits of our new approach are: an increased leadership role across the
National Institute Network, to drive alignment and a more effective use of our collective
resources; a more responsive AIS workforce with the ability to adapt to the needs of
the high performance sector; a sharpened focus for the AIS to add value to sports to assist
in the attainment of our collective performance targets; a greater dialogue around strategic
management and performance solutions between the AIS and sports; an increased focus on
brokering external partnerships to enhance performance across the education and commercial
sectors; and finally, an increased international competitor intelligence and analysis capacity.
I would like to make just a few points on two of the most important groups of people
in the high performance game – being the athletes and coaches.
In the first instance, it’s essential that we provide a greater level of direct support
to our athletes to cover the associated and vital daily training and lifestyle related
It is a massive misconception that athletes make, particularly those outside of professional
sports, a fortune in sport.
There a few exceptions who profit after achieving remarkable success, but they are a tiny minority
when you look across all sports – just ask these guys here when you get a moment.
There are hundreds of rowers, athletes, netballers, gymnasts, hockey players and other committed
athletes who are struggling to secure the assistance required to represent their country.
These athletes are competing because they love their sport and have a desire to be the
best they can be, without the prospect of significant financial reward.
We need to provide the right support at the right time to assist athletes to get to the
podium – and indeed, we should feel very comfortable with this idea that support is
a good and worthwhile investment, this investment into supporting Australia’s best sports
men and women.
The reality of being an athlete is that you have to train full time and you have to be
able to go to all corners of the globe for lengthy periods of time even just to qualify
for certain events.
This lifestyle makes it impossible to hold down a full time job or, sometimes, even a
part time job.
There is strong case to say that we have fallen behind in supporting our best athletes to
pursue their role as athletes with ambitions to represent our country.
A comparison against other competitor nations shows their levels of athlete support are
consistently higher than the existing Australian schemes and we have an obligation in this
area to address this in the future.
To support our coaches the AIS Centre of Performance Coaching and Leadership will be positioned
to improve and formalise a pathway of professional development for high performance coaches and
sport leaders.
The approach will include formal education, professional development opportunities, mentoring
and executive coaching programs.
The Centre will support coaches at all stages of the pathway (world class, developing international,
and potential international) and our aspiring performance leaders.
We envisage a minimum intake of 30 coaches per year which would lead to 90 graduates
by Rio 2016 and 210 graduates by 2020.
The competitive funding pool for sports will foster innovative ways for it to develop,
attract and retain coaching and high performance personnel in their chosen sport.
We have outlined some very important initiatives here today that will hold our country’s
high performance sport sector in very good stead as we head towards Rio, but also to
2020 and beyond.
As has been outlined today, the sporting landscape has changed.
Australia’s Winning Edge provides a shared direction for Australian high performance
sport and the AIS looks forward to playing its role in leading the sector to deliver
Australia’s future international sporting aspirations.
Thank you.