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Monday, 15 September 2003
Page: 20123

Mr Edwards asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts and Sport, upon notice, on 14 August 2003:

(1) Is the Minister aware of the moves by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to restructure sport in Australia.

(2) How many national sports organisations (NSOs) have been approached or encouraged by the ASC to modify their current national [federal model] structures to the ASC's preferred unitary model and convert State/Territory associations into branch agencies of the NSOs.

(3) Will the Minister give an assurance that NSOs which choose not to adopt the unitary model encouraged by the ASC will not have their funding affected.

(4) Is the Minister aware that (a) entry into a Memorandum of Understanding between NSOs and the ASC to establish the unitary model throughout Australia circumvents the constitutional requirements of associations, (b) that the national bodies do not have the authority to comply without the agreement of the State bodies and their community-based local clubs, and (c) that any such action would breach the organisations' constitutions.

(5) Does the ASC have agreements with the State Governments that they will continue to fund sport at the State level if the existing State associations become agencies on the NSOs.

(6) Does the Minister have a policy that a centralised approach to sport development, as advocated by the ASC, would better contribute to the differences and circumstances which sport is confronting outside of Canberra.

(7) What evidence does the Minister have to support the view that a centralised approach to developing sport would better serve Australia.

(8) Does the Minister recognise that the current system promotes commitment from volunteers to the sport system and its development; if so, what evidence does the Minister have that this commitment to volunteering will continue under the unitary model.

(9) Will a lessening of the independence of State associations help foster or improve the crucial support of volunteers in community based sport.

(10) Is the Minister aware that many sports administrators at the State level see these moves by non-State organisations as an attempt to reallocate funds raised at the State level to the coffers of national sports organisations.

Mr McGauran (Minister for Science) —The Minister for the Arts and Sport has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) The Board of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) regards governance standards and structures within Australian Sport as of fundamental importance and has directed management to progress reform in this area.

(2) The ASC has not approached or encouraged National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to adopt a unitary model. The ASC is however increasingly being asked by NSOs operating under a federal structure to assist them to get the best out of their governance and operational relationships. Sports such as Volleyball, Equestrian, Touch, Rollersports have requested assistance to investigate alternative models that may assist in improving their structures in the areas of service delivery and meeting stakeholder and member expectations.

(3) The ASC does not advocate either the federal or the unitary structure as the preferred structure for a National Sporting Organisation. Neither is ASC funding for NSOs linked in any way to the adoption of a unitary model.

(4) (a) - (c) The ASC has not entered into any MOUs with NSOs to establish unitary models throughout Australia. The ASC does assist NSOs to undertake structural reform. This may include a move to a unitary structure. At the current time the ASC is assisting more than ten NSOs with reviews of their governance structures. Of this number two NSOs have expressed interest to date in assessing the feasibility of a unitary structure.

(5) The ASC does not have agreements with State Governments that they will continue to fund sport at the State level if the existing State associations become agencies of the NSOs.

(6) The Government's policy on sports management is clearly articulated in Backing Australia's Sporting Ability - A More Active Australia. The ASC's policy is to encourage more efficient and effective coordination of sport development focussing on solutions tailored to specific sports.

(7) The ASC is not advocating a centralised approach. Where NSOs believe that they are unable to effectively and efficiently streamline their federal structure, the unitary structure is one alternative that organisations have considered as a means of achieving uniform services throughout the sport with the National body charged with the responsibility of ensuring quality, efficiencies and consistency.

(8) It is the experience of the ASC that some NSOs believe that their current structures could be improved in the areas of service delivery, sport development, volunteer management and meeting stakeholder and member expectations.

(9) There is no reason that the State Associations would not continue to manage their own affairs in the important areas of fostering and improving the critical support of volunteers in community based sports.

(10) The issue of fund allocations is a matter for all states to work out through appropriate governance and management structures.