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Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs - 14/02/2013 - Contribution of sport to Indigenous wellbeing and mentoring
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HOWES, Mr Geoff, Acting General Manager, Sports Development Division, Australian Sports Commission

ROWE, Mr Arthur William, First Assistant Secretary, Office for Sport» , Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and «Sport»

STREET, Ms Celia, Assistant Secretary, «Sport» Policy and Programs Branch, Office for «Sport» , Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and «Sport»

Committee met at 12:26.

CHAIR ( Mr Neumann ): I declare open this public hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs inquiry into the contribution of «sport» to Indigenous wellbeing and mentoring and Closing the Gap. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land and pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future. Please note that these meetings are formal proceedings of the parliament. Everything said must be factual and honest and it can be considered a serious matter to mislead the committee. The hearing is open to the public and a transcript of what is said will be placed on the committee's website. I welcome representatives of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and «Sport» .

In the Indigenous «Sport» and Active Recreation Program you talk about 123 agreements across 150,000 Indigenous participants. Could you tell us the kind of program that is being rolled out and the kind of activities?

Mr Rowe : I am very happy to do that, but I might just give a little overview first.

CHAIR: Yes, give us a bit of an overview. What we really want to get down to is what sort of programs are there? What are the activities of the Indigenous Sports Development Officer? What do they do? We have had submissions from other departments, but they have been very esoteric and obtuse and we really need to get down to what is actually happening on the ground. So give us a bit of an overview of that initially, but particularly focus on the kind of programs we are talking about.

Mr Rowe : The program that my office administers, the Indigenous «Sport» and Active Recreation Program, has two components. The two components are the result of the melding of two previous programs. One of those programs was the Indigenous «Sport» and Recreation Program and that was to provide basically small grants to Indigenous organisations, not exclusively Indigenous organisations, and also to local government to deliver—and this is the important part— «sport» and recreation programs in Indigenous communities. So the focus was on the participants. In some cases, those fundees were delivered programs directly and, in other cases, the fundees in turn administered small grants programs.

We also administered the so-called Job Creation Package— «Sport» and Recreation, which was a program that replaced the CDEP. We found that we were dealing with a number of organisations in common through those two programs and, to get better synergy, we have moved those together. Also, through our former program, the Indigenous «Sport» and Recreation Program, we were also supporting the employment of some people. As with the other program it made sense and made things easier for our clients to have one application process. That has been effective in 2012-13.

The general nature of the programs, as I have just outlined, is the provision of grants to deliver activities on the ground. There are a range of those. Celia Street can outline the detail of that. There is also a fairly strong employment process. Just to be clear, the program that was formerly the Job Creation Package is employing Indigenous people. Some of the employment that happens through the other part of the program is not necessarily Indigenous employment but it is about delivering «sport» and recreation to Indigenous participants. That is the general nature. I am happy to go into more detail.

CHAIR: We would like to hear more detail of what you do. If I have a criticism of government in relation to this inquiry, there has been a lot of 'This is what we do; this is how much it costs,' but there has been very little information on what is actually happening. What are you actually rolling out? What are these people applying for? What are we improving?

Mr Rowe : We can go into that.

Ms GRIERSON: This is my first public hearing today on this issue, but what concerns me is just what are the goals that you are trying to achieve. Is it health and wellbeing, is it community development, is it workforce participation in terms of employment opportunities or is it eventually elite «sport» athletes? Those are the things that would interest me, but I do not know whether any of those, each of those or all of those apply.

Mr Rowe : That is an important question. To answer it, what we are attempting to do is to make contributions towards closing the gap objectives generally. The specific targets and objectives we are trying to meet through this program are health, economic participation, safe communities and governance. However, «sport» is often used as a vehicle to achieve a whole range of different outcomes.

CHAIR: It has been described as a hook.

Mr Rowe : If truancy is a problem in a community, those who are responsible for that issue may well try to use «sport» as a vehicle to improve that situation. But in terms of what we have delivered is good-quality «sport» and recreation programs because of the nexus and the contribution that good-quality «sport» and recreation programs make to those targets. The rollout of the program is not driven at its core by looking at the health or the economic issues. Those are factors that we work towards, but it would not be in the same sense. We had issues in the past, issues that we have been trying to deal with, such as domestic violence and those sorts of things. It is difficult for us to measure our programs against outcomes in domestic violence or reductions in domestic violence or to draw a strict—

Ms GRIERSON: But you could measure participation.

Mr Rowe : Absolutely. The point I am trying to make is that we are trying to deliver quality «sport» and recreation programs, measuring those against «sport» and rec outcomes and participation, recognising the contribution that quality «sport» and rec programs make to those broader targets. Having said that—

CHAIR: We want to hear about this program. We can come back. I insist on this because we have had crap from other departments about this stuff. I want to hear about this stuff today because we have been very unhappy with government departments so far. They have sat in these chairs and given us drivel. We want to hear about what programs you guys are rolling out, what evaluation is being done and how they are being measured. Go for your life!

Ms Street : To give you a bit of information on what kind of things we are funding, they are events, carnivals—if there is a carnival in a community, it might be sporting equipment—or organisations, which we fund, may also provide small grants within their community to be able to respond to demand at the time to send participants in their community to an event or to purchase specific equipment. We might fund training camps. One example is that we subsidise fitness membership fees in one community to allow young students, but also the elders, to attend a gym. There are things that we do not fund under the program but there is a lot of flexibility. If they think the best use of the money is for an event or a carnival or for training camps ahead of that event, these are the sorts of projects that we would fund. Across the 120, there are numerous sports that we support but there are also numerous components, such as going to a carnival or a training camp.

CHAIR: In these programs, we have heard a lot about the need for infrastructure—things like a basketball court or a swimming pool, gym equipment. This keeps coming up again and again. Are we funding any of those things in the program you are talking about or any other programs?

Ms Street : Under this program, we do not provide support for facilities. However, we have provided support for facilities under the Regional Development Australia Fund, which is within the portfolio.

Mr Rowe : They just supplement that. Under this program we do provide funding for equipment, so that is part of what is eligible under the program.

CHAIR: Under which program?

Mr Rowe : Under our program, the Indigenous «Sport» and Active Recreation Program.

CHAIR: So you can get a basketball court?

Mr Rowe : Not a court, a basketball. Cricket bats.

CHAIR: You can get uniforms, cricket bats—that sort of stuff.

Ms Street : That is right.

Mr HAASE: Consumables, but not capital outlays.

Mr Rowe : Just consumables.

Dr STONE: Given that Australians are «sport» mad and that we tend to idolise the footy players rather than the netball players and so on, how do you maintain or ensure that you get a balance between men and women, girls and boys and the different ages, too, from your programs.

Mr Rowe : Excellent question. It is a struggle but this year we have put in our guidelines an emphasis on female participation. Those who tend to use «sport» as a vehicle go to the NRLs, the AFLs—the blokey sports. That is one way we are trying to address it. With a bit of creative application, it does not take too much to realise that while rugby league as a «sport» is an attractive activity, if you focused on touch football, which adopts the principles of rugby league, you immediately open it up to the other half of the population. There are also activities such as softball which are particularly popular with Indigenous women and girls. That is also a game that can be played by men. So we are trying to encourage this stronger emphasis on female participation.

Dr STONE: Have you given yourselves some quotas—for example, the numbers of dollars that go to men's versus women's programs, or elite training such as your elite Indigenous accommodation schemes, or your Indigenous «Sport» Development Officers programs. You say you must have 50 per cent men or women. Do you also look at the disabled in that context? A lot of Indigenous people are disabled, have hearing loss and other issues

Mr Rowe : We do not have a target or a quota that says it has to be 50-50. We have put weight in our guidelines and the assessment of those applications, which are closing soon, will be against that weighting. You touched on what we call the EITAAP, the elite program. This is a travel and accommodation program the Sports Commission administer. That is slightly different.

Dr STONE: Who is getting these scholarships?

Mr Howes : It is assistance with travel and accommodation targeted essentially at attending competitions or events, both domestically and internationally. It is a needs based program and we try and get a balance in terms of the recipients. Anybody can apply under the conditions of the program. We look at the type of competition, where they are going and the assistance they need.

Dr STONE: I come back to the question about gender balance, disability balance and age balance. What about the north and south of Australia? Do you have a balance between those who get your support in Victoria or Tasmania versus those in the Northern Territory or Western Australia, given the Indigenous populations are so different? You could also go into the metropolitan and rural balance.

Mr Howes : Essentially they are all treated on merit. We do not deliberately set out to try and divide it up on a quota basis. We treat all of the applications on their merit.

Dr STONE: How do they pan out? The AFL, for example, gets a lot of government funding and almost all of it is spent in northern Australia, even though the AFL in Victoria generates as many Indigenous players as the Northern Territory does.

Mr Howes : I do not have those numbers in front of me. I would have to have a look, but would be happy to provide them to you just to see how the balance works out.

Dr STONE: Thank you.

CHAIR: It would be good if we could have information about the numbers.

Mr Rowe : We can provide a state breakdown.

Ms Street : We would have a state breakdown, but not necessarily in North Queensland compared to the southern states.

Dr STONE: A state breakdown would be fine.

Mr HAASE: Is there a reverse process funding arrangement? If I have an emerging interest in touch rugby in Bullamakanka—

CHAIR: Touch football.

Mr HAASE: Touch football, I do beg your pardon. And I want to bring a coach into the community so I need some money for their airfares and possibly accommodation, how do I do it?

Mr Howes : It goes to the core business of the Sports Commission in relation to this. We all really about trying to help sports build their capability to do this stuff. Where they identify that they have a strategic priority around developing «sport» in Indigenous communities or developing «sport» for Indigenous people, we will look at how they need to do that. In the case you are talking about, if there is a particular need, the approach we are trying to take is essentially based on community development. If there is a particular need and we are looking at a particular outcome, we will look at doing it in that way.

Mr HAASE: Would this be a radical move? Are you saying you have not contemplated this previously?

Mr Howes : No, not a radical move. For quite some time we have been trying to take a more community development approach to this sort of thing when we are working with sports. Essentially what we have recognised is that sports are good at developing «sport» . They are never going to be experts in community development. We try and build their capability to connect into the various organisations that they need to connect with to do this.

CHAIR: How successful have you been?

Mr Howes : It is developing. I think we are getting better at it. The fact is that we now have people who can consult to do this and that means that people are asking questions about how to do it, what they need, where experts are and how to connect into communities.

Mr HAASE: At this stage, do you have a formal process for analysing the successful acquittal of that funding? If I got $5,000 for airfares and accommodation for a coach and an assistant coach to spend two weeks in my community, how do I tell you I have spent it effectively or spent it at all? Or do they just take the mob to the pub?

Mr Howes : We would probably take a helicopter view to this. We are investing in strategy. We are trying to help sports develop the right strategies, the right plans, the right key performance indicators that tell us about what is going on in their programs. That is fairly new. We have been reworking our whole performance review process, so we are essentially looking at their plans and how they are performing against those plans. That is developing.

Mr HAASE: Twelve months from now, if you are back here and we ask you the same question, you would say, 'We are doing X, Y, Z'?

Mr Howes : We would be able to tell you we are getting better data and what sort of stuff is going on, absolutely.

Ms GRIERSON: Mr Rowe, the last RDA round for funding had an arts-cultural emphasis. I would think sports would have come under that. Do you know if that was taken up by sports organisations or Indigenous sports organisations? It was a one-off opportunity. Economic development is always part of the goal of regional development, but the last round certainly had an arts-cultural emphasis. Have you had any feedback on that?

Mr Rowe : I do not have that information. That program is administered elsewhere, but I want to help the committee as much as we can—

Ms GRIERSON: It would be very interesting to see the sports aspect.

Mr Rowe : and we will get you whatever information you require from other parts of our department.

CHAIR: Current round 3 has an arts and cultural aspect too.

Mr Rowe : Ms Street was in the arts division and may have some knowledge about that. Failing that, we will get the information to the committee.

Ms GRIERSON: Ms Street, you were talking about the sorts of programs that are funded. Buying equipment might be a one-off or isolated application, but do you consider if it is part of an activity that is continuing or will have sustained benefit? Is it considered on the basis of someone putting in for a grant and having the energy, the leadership and the will, but when they go nothing further happens? How do you reinforce it as part of a continuing program or something that is sustainable, so that you get a long-term benefit rather than just a short-term gain?

Ms Street : Generally the grant would not be for equipment only. It would be for equipment alongside coaching or training, so it would be an established program that requires the equipment. In this last year we changed our guidelines so that we could provide three-year grants as opposed to just one-year grants.

Ms GRIERSON: That is encouraging.

Ms Street : That is providing greater certainty for the organisations and a longer framework.

Ms GRIERSON: Could you give us some information about the breakdown of it, whether they were for the long term or the short term. Could you also find for us a best case application, one that was successful, and a one-off application. I would really like to see the nature of some of these programs.

CHAIR: We want to see some examples. We have been getting very little information.

Ms GRIERSON: They must give you some encouragement as well.

Mr Rowe : We would be very happy to provide that. In fact, in our annual report there is a case study of a successful program.

Ms GRIERSON: I am also concerned about value-adding around programs that are up and running, like the after-school program. That may mean that no Indigenous kids ever benefit from that program. How do we make sure Indigenous kids, who may not be at school, benefit from something that is quite a considerable program and one we would say is successful? But for Indigenous kids it might mean absolutely nothing.

Mr Howes : That is an interesting question. Obviously with the way the program is spread right across the country it is in a lot of areas where Indigenous kids could benefit from it. We have noticed—again, this is anecdotal, but we are getting better at collecting data on this—that on days when the program is run attendance rates at school will increase by about 20 per cent. We are starting to get that sort of information about what is going on.

Ms GRIERSON: I am pleased you are getting that data. When governments invest in programs, we want everyone to benefit. If we have a Closing the Gap framework and goal we want to reach then every program counts in that. That one is a standout. It has been long standing now and has been going for a long time. It is popular politically, yet is it really reaching our Indigenous kids?

Mr Howes : We also did a sports demonstration program in partnership with the Northern Territory government and the Western Australians. A number of lessons came out of it. You talked about some detail of particular programs and we could provide some detail of that.

Ms GRIERSON: That would be good. If you could get figures for participation of Indigenous kids in that program, that would be good.

Mr Howes : The sports demonstration program was targeted at Indigenous kids.

Ms GRIERSON: I mean for the other program.

Mr Howes : For the AASC, the Active After-school Communities program, absolutely. It is a bit difficult—

Ms GRIERSON: I understand.

Mr Howes : We are constrained in the data we can actually get.

Mr Rowe : I think we have information about the overall percentage of participants that are Indigenous.

CHAIR: If you could get that to us, that would be good.

Mr Rowe : Yes, but we may not have the specifics by region or by community. I am not sure,

Ms GRIERSON: I would like your feedback on this comment. I am from Newcastle and we have the Hunter Academy of «Sport» which does wonderful development programs, identification of the athletes, mentoring of athletes, as well as sports and teams et cetera. It is a standout regional success story for us. It is long standing and it has contributed to the success of some of our best athletes, some of whom land up at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. I think that sort of model for regional Australia, knowing it would have to have an Indigenous element to try find athletes and build up that base, is important. We need not just your organisation but on-the-ground organisations with a sports academy-type framework to do all that. We get a bit of state funding but no federal funding and we get a lot of community support. It is a smell-of-an-oily-rag-type program, but it seems to be a model that should be rolled out to regional Australia.

I think there are a few now and they come together. We were one of the first, but they could be tasked with prospering identification of Indigenous kids. I am thinking of the wonderful example of Jessica Mauboy, the singer-actress who was found by commercial operators and is now able to achieve all her dreams. Who is out there finding these wonderful kids with great sports potential?

Mr Howes : There are probably two parts to my commentary on that. The sports themselves actually do quite a bit of this stuff. They are charged with developing their «sport» which includes development at the elite end.

Ms GRIERSON: That is dominated by male sports.

Mr Howes : That is true and you are right, it is important to get a balance. That is why we are working closely with netball and basketball in this country, where there is a large female involvement. This applies to Indigenous people as well. The «sport» is the starting point, and what these sports bodies are doing about the talented athletes pathways and at the community level.

You talked about academies. Regional academies are part of the picture, so connecting them into the picture is really important. Again, the sports play a key role with respect to that, as do state departments of «sport» and recreation and state institutes and academies of «sport» . They each playing a different role in that coordination. The commission has recently come out with Australia's Winning Edge which looks at changing the game in relation to how we are approaching elite development which will empower sports to do the sorts of things you are talking about. While that is at a very high level, those are things that are worth digging deeper into.

Ms GRIERSON: «Sport» probably does not start early enough. It does not do the development work, although it perhaps does the identification.

Mr Howes : No, we have done some work around pathways, so we have a model where we look at foundation right up to mastery. It is developing area, but we start at the entry level and grassroots level. We look at what we need to do to provide the foundation for lifelong participation in «sport» , which could include elite «sport» .

CHAIR: I want to talk about Indigenous «Sport» Development Officers. How effective are they? How well have been received in local communities? What kind of work are they actually doing on the ground?

Mr Rowe : To understand that, the 28 ISDOs, Indigenous «Sport» Development Officers, we fund are part of a larger group of 50. The other 22 are funded by state and territory governments. There is also a network of community development officers that the states and territories fund that form part of that network.

Having said that, another important piece in the puzzle is that, up until recently, funding from our program was provided to the Sports Commission who had a relationship with the states and territories to fund the ISDOs. This was for them to be involved in the Sports Commission's Indigenous «Sport» Program which had a strategy to focus on 16 sports and help those sports in Indigenous communities. We are now not providing funding for that purpose. We are providing funding to the states to employ these people so that the focus of the ISDOs now is more on community recreation and «sport» rather than the activity that it was previously undertaking. Having given you that background—

Ms Street : I do not have a lot more to add to that because it is in its first year of that transition for us.

CHAIR: What information have we received about it? We must have information because in the past, before they transitioned, we have funded them. We must have information about how effective—

Mr Howes : That probably is directed to us in terms of what they were doing. Essentially, what they were trying to do was work in the community. I expect that there would be some consistency between that and what they do now, because they can provide that connection between sporting organisations, communities, state governments, councils and whoever else plays a part in that community. Their role is to create those types of connections and get the activity actually happening.

CHAIR: How effective have they been, and how well have they been received by the community? I ask the questions again.

Mr Howes : The feedback on it is that it has been well received by communities.

CHAIR: What evidence have we got of that?

Mr Howes : Can I take that one on notice?

CHAIR: Yes, you can take it on notice. Get the evidence about that.

Mr Rowe : Could we supplement that by giving you some information about how we are intending for them to be used going forward?

CHAIR: Yes. What is so bleeding obvious, when you look at where the offices are located in Queensland, is that Logan is not listed. It seems to me so obvious that Logan should be listed when you look at the Indigenous population of south-east Queensland.

Mr Rowe : Is that of the 28?

CHAIR: That is the location of the Indigenous Sports Development offices.

Ms Street : We fund 28. We do not fund any in Queensland.

Mr Rowe : The reason for that is that the Queensland government has decided to opt out of our program.

CHAIR: When did they do that? In the last budget?

Mr Rowe : No. We can get the information, but it was several years ago.

CHAIR: Where are they located? Do we know where these offices are located?

Mr Rowe : In Queensland?

CHAIR: Anywhere.

Mr Rowe : Yes, we do. But I do not have that today.

CHAIR: Can we get that information?

Dr STONE: This chart in table 2 is not current.

CHAIR: Is Table 2 not accurate?

Dr STONE: Table 2 is not current?

Ms Street : That is an accurate table in the submission.

CHAIR: Logan is not mentioned.

Mr Rowe : That is my question. Is that limited to the 28?

CHAIR: I do not know; it is your submission. You are the one who is giving evidence.

Mr HAASE: The question perhaps goes by way of explanation to the association now with local government. In the past, were the sports development offices located within local government? Were they in shire council buildings?

Mr Howes : It would vary. It really depends on how particular councils approached the development, or how particular state governments approached the development locally. It would vary. They could be located within local government.

Mr HAASE: The decision now, that we are going to trial the funding going directly to state governments, and state governments then presumably funding local government to employ a sports development officer: is this a picture of how this is being intended?

Mr Rowe : The intention, from our point of view, is to fund state governments to employ these people to help deliver outcomes in the programs that are being delivered in the community. To help the committee, can we give you some supplementary information on the precise location of the ones that—

CHAIR: What is table 2 then?

Ms Street : That list is of where the ISDOs are. However, the 28 that we fund are not in all of those locations. For example, in Queensland, we do not currently fund ISDOs in those eight locations. But we do fund 28.

Dr STONE: Who funds these then?

CHAIR: Who funds these?

Mr Rowe : That is what I was saying at the start. There is a total of 50. We fund 28, states and territories fund 22, and that is the 50. To help the committee, can we get you some supplementary information.

CHAIR: Yes—where they historically have been, where they are now, where our 28 are, where the 22 from the states are and why they are there. I mean how obvious, why isn't—

Dr Stone : Males and females—

CHAIR: Yes, males and females. And why the hell is Logan not there?

Mr Rowe : I mentioned the community «sport» development officers. What we will do is to find out where they are located because it may be that there are some community «sport» development officers in Logan.

Ms GRIERSON: We have had great privilege of visiting a lot of remote Aboriginal communities. It is a great privilege. When we have met with those communities, they want their kids to have traineeships in things that are important to them. They want their kids stay there and have those opportunities. Do you know of any traineeships in «sport» administration or «sport» development programs, or anything like that? It seems to me the whole job is not just about success in activity level or achievement level; it is really about embedding people into the whole culture of «sport» . It is probably not your task, but is there anyone trying to get kids into traineeships around «sport» , «sport» administration or «sport» fitness training, or whatever?

Mr Rowe : In the education portfolio, there most certainly are programs designed to do that. I would have to get some information for you.

Ms GRIERSON: Some of these things go across portfolios, but it would be lovely to know if anyone is capturing young people and offering traineeships in «sport» areas.

Mr Howes : I cannot give you a specific example of offering traineeships. If we look at the way we are trying to develop the capability of sports, we are looking at their workforce and that includes looking at what they need to deliver effectively on their growth targets. This would include developing coaches, officials and development officers, and a whole range of different things. There is a large cohort of young people who are picked up in Australia at a university and that to deliver on those things. There is no specific program because it really is about how you develop your «sport» and what you need to do that.

Mr Rowe : As part of the VET sector, vocational education and training—

Ms GRIERSON: Yes, I am thinking of TAFE and tertiary education. I know of personal fitness training courses and personal trainer courses are out there. I do not know how you train to be a sports administrator.

Mr Howes : Some are university and some sports are RTAs, so again it varies.

Mr Rowe : Some through the TAFE systems and vocational educational system and so on. The education department can provide some information for you.

Ms GRIERSON: If you could just find out me. I do not want you to go too much trouble but I would like to know. Thank you.

Dr STONE: How long do your Indigenous «sport» development officers grants last for? If you are a recipient of one of these funded positions, how long are they for?

Mr Rowe : Ongoing, are they not?

Ms Street : They are on three-year agreements.

Mr Rowe : Yes, three-year agreements with the states.

Dr STONE: Three-year agreements with the states with the potential to roll over?

Mr Rowe : Yes, potential to roll over. It would be subject to the normal comings and goings of employees.

Dr STONE: In terms of relationships and liaison, are you looking for these positions to be shown to be linked to local government or state government programs? I wonder how one might end up in a school which is typically a state or territory funded institution. How are you matching them up? Could a school apply for an Indigenous «sport» development officer, for example, in Shepparton?

Mr Rowe : The ISDOs are not separately funded through a merit based application process. A school would be an eligible organisation to apply for funding under our program. If the school had a need, if there was some program that was to be developed, there is no reason why that application could not be received. As we have already discussed, the ISDOs are in transition, but they are there essentially to help the proponents who are being funded to deliver programs and to achieve the sort of coordination with the community groups and sports that Geoff was talking about.

Mr Howes : The state departments have a fairly big say in where these officers are actually located because they will have their own programs and they will be undertaking activities in certain areas, so they might need to either supplement that or fill a gap somewhere else. It is a flexible arrangement.

Dr STONE: Do you give the states so many officer positions each? How do you work that? Does each state get four or five?

Mr Rowe : They are spread. As we have discussed before, Queensland has opted out of that Commonwealth funded arrangement.

Dr STONE: Because they had to match some funding, did they? Did the states have to contribute some of the funding?

Mr Rowe : Not to a specific ISDO. As we were saying before, there is a larger network of 50. We are funding 28 and the states are funding the other 22. The ones we fund we are funding directly. It is not a fifty-fifty funding arrangement.

Dr STONE: You said before it is not a merit-based program, so if I put in an application to be the Indigenous Sports Development Officer in Traralgon as an individual, Indigenous or not Indigenous, it does not work that way. You have to have an application from the state, is that how it works?

Mr Rowe : No, sorry. We work with the states to deliver a network of 50 around the country. The application base that we were referring to as our funding program was saying that the school could put an application in to that program to apply for the delivery of whatever that person that they wanted was going to do, and part of the delivery of that program was that they needed to employ someone to do it and so on. That would not be an ISDO person—an Indigenous «Sport» Development Officer. They might choose to call them that, but it would be an application from the school to deliver programs that are eligible under the program.

Dr STONE: Would the program be teaching the kids to swim and then attached to that might be one of these officers?

Mr Rowe : Could be, and one of these officers may well be helping to support the connections that Geoff was referring to.

Mr HAASE: Do you allocate funds to the states on the basis of population, Aboriginal population, number of communities or what?

Mr Rowe : For the ISDOs it is an historical arrangement. At one stage the Sports Commission managed the ISDOs and we have continued funding the number of ISDOs in the jurisdictions that were set up at that stage. We can get some detail for you, but at a point in time there were arrangements put in place which did not include Queensland, and we have continued with that.

CHAIR: Notwithstanding the demographic changes or any need? You have just stuck with the current—

Mr Howes : No, it was essentially needs driven and—

Mr HAASE: Can the nexus can be broken, at some point in the future?

Mr Howes : Of course it can. We look at need and adjust it accordingly.

Mr HAASE: Secondly, and if you do not have the answer now perhaps you will provide it to us, how do deploy rigour in relation to 'no school, no program' involvement? You make mention of it in a few situations.

Mr Rowe : As part of the programs that we fund, we do not attach a condition of no school, no program. There are «sport» -related programs run by the education portfolio that do that.

Mr HAASE: It is just that in your submission you mention it a few times.

Mr Rowe : We mentioned that those things exist, not that they are our programs.

Ms GRIERSON: The federal government set up the National Indigenous Television station, which I think is the most amazing and wonderful thing, and I enjoy it. How are you using such a wonderful resource to achieve your objectives, and are you working with them to look at ways you could be promoting the objectives that you want to achieve?

Mr Howes : I am going to take that on notice to look more closely into that one, because we are quite interested in looking at commercialising «sport , so there are a number of things that we can tap into.

Ms GRIERSON: It is a resource that has a powerful reach, so you will have to consider it. That would be great.

CHAIR: Thank you very much. A transcript of the evidence will be on our committee website. Please make any changes to it if there is anything that is in error and get the information to us. We appreciate your time and thank you for your written submission to us.

Mr Rowe : No problem at all, and if there is a need for further information, we would be more than happy to provide that.