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Governing bodies for Australian sport provide evidence to child abuse inquiry -

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MARK COLVIN: Some of the major governing bodies in Australian sport have been under scrutiny at the child abuse royal commission.

During today's hearing, the head of the Australian Sports Commission said that although work was being done to protect children, there were still gaps in the system.

And the Australian Paralympic Committee, as well as Football Federation Australia, supported his views.

The evidence on the high-profile coach Noel Callaghan also continued, with Tennis Australia admitting that it'd lost documents that could have assisted the commission.

Thomas Oriti reports.

THOMAS ORITI: In the late 1990s, a talented young tennis player complained that her coach Noel Callaghan had sexually abused her. He was charged several years later, but the charges were withdrawn, and he's always maintained his innocence.

The case has dominated the last few days of evidence at the child abuse royal commission, with a former chief executive of Tennis New South Wales, Craig Watson, conceded that the organisation could have done more to support the girl.

He also admitted that years of the organisation's board minutes had been lost.

Today Tennis Australia's manager of business compliance and risk, Ann West, suggested that record keeping at the time was an issue.

Council assisting, Naomi Sharp.

NAOMI SHARP: How fulsome are Tennis Australia's records from that time?

ANN WEST: There not all that great. We at that time there was no central repository for documents. Since that time we've made three moves from offices so we've lost a lot documents.

THOMAS ORITI: That proved problematic in the organisation's preparation for this hearing.

Ann West said she had to resort to a Google search for more information about Noel Callaghan, and she agreed that Tennis Australia could encourage more information sharing with state and territory tennis organisations.

NAOMI SHARP: I take it it would be of assistance to Tennis Australia to have the information on a person's criminal history more readily accessible than having to do Google searches and instruct law firms to look through the newspaper, is that right?

ANN WEST: That's right.

NAOMI SHARP: So you do see that there would be a benefit of Tennis Australia having a database with this kind of information?

ANN WEST: Yes. We do have difficulty in getting information from police forces et cetera. It's not readily available if somebody's on a restricted list.

THOMAS ORITI: That prompted commissioner Andrew Murray to question the systems Tennis Australia had in place.

ANDREW MURRAY: Are you afraid at all that your systems are still such that you might not be getting the full picture?

ANN WEST: In relation to reporting, yes.

ANDREW MURRAY: Do you think it's under-reported?

ANN WEST: Yes, I would think so.

THOMAS ORITI: She also revealed that Tennis Australia had been made aware of other allegations that its members had engaged in misconduct towards children.

One of the issues here involves Working with Children Checks, and the requirements differ depending on where you are in Australia.

The chief executive of the Australian Sports Commission, Simon Hollingsworth, told the hearing he wants to see a nationally consistent approach.

But Justice Peter McClellan pointed out that the royal commission had been pushing for it for some time.

PETER MCCLELLAN: All we can do it ask that you and others in a position to influence governments in these matters do what you can.

SIMON HOLLINGSWORTH: Your Honour, certainly we will be feeding back the findings of our research back into government.

PETER MCCLELLAN: I think what I'm really saying is it's time to stop talking and for there to be action.

THOMAS ORITI: The Chef de Mission of the upcoming Paralympic Games, Kate McLoughlin, said a consistent approach was essential.

And the head of legal, business affairs and integrity for Football Federation Australia, Jo Setright, agreed. She appeared in the wake of last week's allegations that a coach had abused a young girl in the 1990s, and she wants the Working with Children Check exemption to be removed for parents who coach soccer teams.

At the moment, they don't need one.

JO SETRIGHT: I had discussions with colleagues from within netball, tennis and cricket, and we've all agreed that this is an area where we should be working together.

THOMAS ORITI: Representatives from the governing bodies for netball, cricket, surf life saving and little athletics will be called to appear tomorrow.

MARK COLVIN: Thomas Oriti.