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Sports commission performs back flip on funding criteria



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To: Political editor Media Monitors

V

A U S T R A L I A N

P A R A L Y M P I C

C O M M I T T E E

Level is

The Maritime Centre 207 Kent Street SYDNEY NSW 2000

PO Box N570

Grosvcnor Place NSW 1220 Telephone 61 2 9247 7272

Facsimile 61 2 9241 4903

Email; auspara@piiralympic.org.au

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 1998

SPORI&COMMISSION PERFORMS BACKFLIP ON FUNDING CRITERIA Australian Paralympic Committee Chief Executive, Mr Scott Derwin, said today the Australian Sports Commission had performed “a major backflip’’ regarding the establishment of clear criteria by which Olympic Athlete Program (OAP) funding to Paralympic athletes is to be determined.

Mr Derwin said the central problem regarding the APC’s current funding crisis to properly and professionally prepare the Australian team for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games has been the lack, of any criteria to judge funding allocation to the APC.

In contrast, criteria currently applies to all other OAP funded sports.

The APC has been granted $ 1 million, which is just 4% of the OAP’s total budget of $25 million, in the current financial year to prepare 280 Australian athletes in the 18 sports to be contested at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

The APC is seeking an additional $1.5 million in funding this financial year-If additional funding is not forthcoming, the APC will have no alternative but to drastically cut funding for its highly regarded Paralympic Preparation Program (PPP). . . ■

This could result in Australia fielding 155 athletes in nine sports at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games instead of 280 athletes in 18 sports. .

The lack of any funding criteria for the APC, said Mr Derwin, has been formally acknowledged by both the Sports Commission and the Federal Sports Minister, Mr Andrew Thomson.

“We met with the Sports Commission on July 14 whereby it was agreed by both parties to develop a criteria for funding,” said Mr Derwin.

’W e acknowledged thatthere could be differing views on the criteria and the range of funds. Hpwever, we felt this would provide the basis for establishing guidelines for the all-important criteria.

“As a result of this meeting, the APC’s General Manager Sport, Brendan Flynn, and Stephen Fox from the Sports Commission, spent two days discussing a proposed criteria-

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“The upshot was the funding for the APC ranged from $2.37 million to $2.55 million for this financial year based on OAP-like funding criteria.

“I then had a telephone conversation with the Sports Commission’s Chief Executive, Jim Ferguson, last week who then claimed Fox had no authority to be involved in discussions relating to establishing the criteria. This is despite agreement at our meeting on July 14 to develop the criteria.

“If Fox didn’t have the authority, on what and whose authority did he twice meet with Brendan Flynn? And on what and whose authority did Fox work to draft a criteria?

“The APC Board is deeply disturbed by these major backflips by the Sports Commission.

“Paralympic athletes have proven, and continue to prove against the world’s best, that they are elite international athletes. And, like other GAP able-bodied funded sports, they should be regarded as such by both the Sports Commission and the Sports Minister.

“The APC Board believes, judging by the continued inequity in funding for our leading Paralympic athletes, that the Sports Commission and the Sports Minister do not share this view.

“The APC repeats its long-held view that a policy decision must be made regarding the equity of funding between able-bodied athletes and elite athletes with a disability.

“And the first place to establish a pohcy is by applying to the APC the same or similar funding criteria which currently applies to able-bodied GAP funded sports,” he added.

“The APC calls on Mr Thomson to immediately remedy the situation so that equity funding is made available to AustraEa’s leading Paralympic athletes so they can properly prepare for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games in all 18 sports.”

Further information Greg Campbell Javelin Australia Ph: (02) 9959-3010 Fax: (02) 9956-6372