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L plate minister to host international meeting.

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The Hon Pat Farmer MP Shadow Minister for Youth and Sport

Labor’s Kate Ellis will be hosting the Commonwealth Sports Ministers meeting the day after the Opening Ceremony, but with sport in Australia under review and potentially facing funding cuts, it is not clear what Australian sports policies Ms Ellis will be taking to the table said Shadow Sports Minister, Pat Farmer MP.

“After 11 years in Opposition Labor failed to produce a sports policy at the last election, and after 9 months in Government they still have their policy L plates on, having only issued an aspirational ‘Directions paper” without any clear outcomes’” he said.

“For Ms Ellis to be hosting an International Sports Ministers meeting is just embarrassing” said Mr Farmer.

“The Coalition paid off Labor’s $96 billion debt and was able to increase sports funding to $267 million in 2007-08 which was a 190% from 1995-96. Had Labor won that election in 1996 sport funding may have been subjected to funding cuts of $140 million over four years, which was contained in their forward estimates” he said.

“This time round Labor have been more under-handed about their intentions, saying they will remove “duplication” and it was necessary to have “reform” which sounds like funding cuts by stealth” said Mr Farmer.

“Labor obviously do not see sport as a priority as they are not prepared to invest in sport, and I call on the Minister to atleast guarantee current funding levels into the future” he said.

“We had Kevin Rudd the King of Spin saying of elite sport “this government will be their strong financial partners in the long-term future1”, but this morning the Sports Minister on several occasions completely side stepped answering the question of sports funding” he said (see attached).

“If the Sports Minister spent less time pork barrelling marginal seats and more time focusing on sport policy, perhaps Australia would have a strong voice for sport on the International stage going forward” said Mr Farmer.

“Forget the sports policy, the only thing the Minister must have packed to take to Beijing is her white board” said Mr Farmer.