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Community Affairs Legislation Committee
03/03/2016
Estimates
HEALTH PORTFOLIO
Australian Sports Commission

Australian Sports Commission

[16:52]

CHAIR: We might start with a few questions from Senator Peris for the Sports Commission. There are a number of senators who have questions for ASADA, so we might them do them as a block once we have done with the Sports Commission.

Senator PERIS: I want to go to sports betting and the O'Farrell review. What input did the Australian Sports Commission have into the O'Farrell review into illegal offshore wagering?

Mr Hollingsworth : The Australian Sports Commission provided a submission to the O'Farrell review, which is a matter of public record. Our comment does not relate to the actual policy terms of the decisions the government may make around platform neutrality in relation to in-play betting. Our submission really relates to, and should be read in conjunction with, the National Integrity of Sport Unit's submission relating to the integrity implications of any change as well as some of the broader financial challenges facing the sports sector, and it makes commentary on those things.

Senator PERIS: Have you seen the O'Farrell report?

Mr Hollingsworth : No, I have not.

Senator PERIS: So the Sports Commission have not helped the government develop a response to the report at all? You have had no input into it at all?

Mr Hollingsworth : That question is probably best put to the department, I think.

Mr Bowles : It is being run out of the Department of Social Services. We are not responsible for the O'Farrell report into that issue. It is a Social Services issue in that context. Both the Sports Commission and the department, through the Sports Integrity Unit, put in submissions to that review by Mr O'Farrell, but that is where it is at the moment.

Senator PERIS: Those are the only questions I had on that. Thank you for that. I want to go now to the Sporting Schools program. How many schools have registered to participate in the Sporting Schools program to date?

Mr Hollingsworth : The number of schools we now have registered has just ticked over 5,000. The number of funding grants that have been provided has just ticked over 4,000.

Senator PERIS: So you have funded 4,000?

Mr Hollingsworth : So far. As we transition the program, the ultimate aim is to hit 5,700 schools. The target for this financial year is around 4,100. We have currently reached the 4,000 mark, so we are very confident that the target the Sports Commission and the government have set is going to be reached.

Senator PERIS: How many students are participating in the Sporting Schools program at the moment?

Mr Hollingsworth : I do not have that number in front of me. It is in the hundreds of thousands, but I do not have the exact number in front of me. I might have to take that on notice. Because we are halfway through the first term in the school year, it is difficult to give an exact number of how many children are participating. It would be in the hundreds of thousands. I will take that on notice.

Senator PERIS: This might be a broad question, but how does this compare to the number of schools and students that participated in the former Labor government's active after-school program?

Mr Hollingsworth : Again, I can do a comparison of direct numbers. I will take that one on notice. As a general proposition, there will be a significant increase in the number of students participating because, under the old Active After-school Communities program, the total number of schools that were engaged in that program was 3,000. The total number of sites for that program was 3,700, but of those about 2,300 were schools and the remainder were after-school care centres. The number of primary schools involved in this current program has nearly more than doubled, so the total number of participants, by the time we get to the end of the school year, will be significantly in excess of the Active After-school Communities program. The total number of participants in the program once it is fully running will be around 850,000. That is the target.

Senator PERIS: I have read some articles on this. Are you aware of any primary schools that have raised concerns about the cost of Sporting Schools programs quoted to them by various sporting organisations?

Mr Hollingsworth : Yes, I am aware of some issues that have been raised in relation to those localised issues. This is one of the challenges as you roll out a new program. Part of our objective, just to remind you of the change between Sporting Schools and AASC, is that a significantly higher proportion of funding is going out the door. The 30 sports engaged in the program have taken on a much greater role in connecting with their local schools. In the past under the Active After-school Communities program there was a large number of private providers that had no connection directly to a sport. They would simply provide a sport service. Schools were often happy with that provider. As we have moved to Sporting Schools, there have been some situations where schools have preferred to remain with that provider even though it has no connection with a sport. We are managing that transition with the local schools and the local sports to try to ensure that the people who are providing the instruction to children are accredited by the sport. That is our preference. But there is a transition phase. That issue has come up on a number of occasions. In some cases, the provision of the service can be more expensive, but the counter to that is that it is being delivered by a coach who is accredited by the sport. That is the trade-off. We need to manage that to make sure that it is affordable for schools but, on the same basis, that students are getting the proper tuition.

Senator PERIS: Are you happy with how you are able to manage those issues that have been raised?

Mr Hollingsworth : Yes.

Senator PERIS: I am jumping around a bit here, but I wanted to go to the Paralympic funding. Can you tell us the total investment for Paralympic sports in each of the specialist sporting organisation investment allocations going back to 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Mr Hollingsworth : The Australian Paralympic Committee?

Senator PERIS: Yes.

Mr Hollingsworth : It might be easier, Senator, if I compare the four-year Rio cycle to the London cycle. For the four-year Rio cycle coming into the Rio Paralympics the total funding provided to the Paralympic sports including the Paralympic Committee totals $62.5 million. The funding for the equivalent period, the London Paralympic cycle, was $47 million. The increase in funding over the quadrennial is up by $15.5 million or 33 per cent and that is funding to sports and athletes.

Senator PERIS: Has there been any funding decrease from last year, 2014-15, to where it is now, if you look at annual funding cycles just for the Paralympics?

Mr Hollingsworth : No.

Senator PERIS: Thank you.

CHAIR: Are there any other questions for the Sports Commission? There being no other questions we now move to ASADA.