David Crawford's Review of Australian Sport: End of Year News

I have written a number of posts about the Independent Panel’s Review of Australian Sport since its publication on 17 November 2009:

In my last post I reported on the release of the Australian Olympic Committee’s eighty-three page response to the Crawford Report and noted that the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) was holding two strategic forums to discuss the Report. The first of these forums was held in Melbourne on 15 December and the second in Canberra on 17 December. There is very little public information about these Forums and there are no links to them on the ASC web site. I understand that the ASC has prepared two summary documents about these meetings as an aide memoir for those who attended.

The Heart Foundation issued a press statement after its attendance at the ASC Canberra Forum. The statement included the observation that “the report provides an important opportunity for both sport and health policies to work together for community good”. CEO, Dr Lyn Roberts called for “a stronger connection between the key recommendations in the report and the Government’s preventive health agenda”. Dr Roberts noted that:

The Preventative Health Taskforce Report contained a range of important recommendations by which to proactively increase physical activity. There is no need to reinvent sound recommendations for health and physical activity; just ensure they are implemented. In order to promote increased participation in sport and other ways to be physically active, children and young people must be a priority.

The Virtual Equestrian had a news item about the Canberra Forum.

I attended a meeting of National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) with the Australian Sports Commission where NSOs voted electronically on each of the 39 recommendations. Most received clear majority support without much change while a small number had substantial implementation concerns registered against them. The meeting felt that some recommendations had not been well thought-through or showed a lack of understanding of sport – the economic impact of sport had simply been ignored – and that there were quite a few areas that had simply been overlooked.  These included coaches, officials, administrators, disabled sport, talent identification, digital media, etc.

Rowing Australia has made public (23 December) its letter to the Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis. The letter notes that while “Rowing Australia believes that there is merit in a number of the Sports Panel’s recommendations it is also our belief that a number of the recommendations are not in the best interests of the Australian sports system. Rowing Australia has concentrated the focus of this response on a number of key issues, both positive and negative, that it considers central to the consideration of the Crawford Report and which should be given extensive contemplation by the Federal Government in preparing its response to the Report”.

Harry Gordon (21 December) discusses the Crawford Report on the AOC web site. In it he explores the intrinsic attractiveness of sport. His post left me wondering about how all the debate about the role of sport in our society might be synthesised into a non zero sum outcome for a healthy and active Australia.

Perhaps in 2010 all those involved in the discussions about activity, health and wellness might work together to have an outcome in which all of us can flourish. What if discussions over the Independent Panel’s Review of Sport deliver a consensus in which all of us have a stake because we defer to the common good?

Photo Credits

Bike Race

Sports Day

Fly High Baby


Engines Ticking Over: David Crawford's Review of Australian Sport

My last blog post about to the publication of the Independent Panel’s Review of Australian Sport was on 27 November. There has not been a lot of publicity about the report since that time. (This report on 2 December points to ‘crisis talks’ and this post contains a report of the meeting between the Minister and the President of the AOC. Richard Hinds wrote about developments on 4 December. On 11 December Athletics Australia posted its response to the Crawford Report and this article outlined Athletics Australia’s position.)

Two recent events have opened up discussion again.

Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers of Sport and Recreation met in Melbourne on 14 December.

The meeting received a presentation from David Crawford, Chair, and Colin Carter, Panel member, of the Australian Governments Independent Sport Panel on the “The Future of Sport in Australia”. The report was welcomed by Commonwealth and State and Territory Ministers who consider the report an important step forward for the future of Australian Sport. All Ministers agreed that a holistic and strategic approach to the organisation and development of sport and recreation at both community and elite levels is crucial to our success.

All Ministers agreed to the establishment of a Government working party to comment on key areas of the “The Future of Sport in Australia” report to assess:

  • structural reform opportunities, which includes the AIS and SIS/SAS; and
  • issues to be addressed under the National Policy Framework.

It was agreed that the Ministerial Council would reconvene early in 2010, following advice from the working party, to finalise a joint position from the Commonwealth, State and Territories on the National Policy Framework and structural issues arising from the report.

This is a press statement about the meeting.

On 18 December the Australian Olympic Committee’s eighty-three page response to the Crawford Report was released.

This is the Contents page of the AOC’s response:

The AOC has posted some video clips of about the response here. This is a link to an AAP report (18 December) of the release of the AOC response (see also here and here). Dan Silkstone has an article in The Age (19 December) about the response. Nicole Jeffrey wrote about the release of the response in this Australian article (18 December). Michael Owen posted an article in the Australian (14 December) that looked at funding issues raised in South Australia. This is an Inside the Games story on the same topic on 13 December. An Around the Rings post on 18 December had a brief summary of the release of the response. The Australian (18 December) carries news of a meeting between the Minister for Sport, Kate Ellis, and John Coates, President of the AOC.

The Australian Sports Commission has held a series of forums in Canberra and Melbourne to allow other community and sports organisations to respond to the Crawford recommendations.

Photo Credits

Race 1912 Olympic Games

North Sydney Olympic Pool

Australian Olympians 1932

Engines Started: Responses to David Crawford's Review of Australian Sport

The publication of the Independent Panel’s Review of Australian Sport has stimulated enormous discussion. Yesterday I linked to the publication of the report. This post looks at some of the responses in the last twenty-four hours.

This was the Google News graphic at 7.00 p.m. EST on 19 November.

John Coates argued the case for funding Olympic sports in an article in The Australian. This was a report of his initial response to the Crawford Report and this an ABC report of his response (the ABC report includes video and audio items). The Australian Olympic Committee has appointed a study group to examine the Crawford Report.

Sally Robbins argues strongly for Olympic funding. The Canberra Times cites Cadel Evans, Anna Mears an Ken Wallace as supporters of Government funding for Olympic sports. This is an article in The Age expressing Cycling Australia’s concerns. This ABC post notes Archery Australia’s concerns. Wally Mason observes that “Clearly federal funding does not come out of a bottomless pit and every Olympic medal comes at a cost. It is a cost most of us are prepared to pay.” Andrew Southcott‘s response to the Report indicates that a Top 10 Olympics’ finish is not good enough.

Simon Crean was reported as observing that Australia’s sporting success was “a fundamental part of the Australian brand”. Jacquelin Magnay discussed the Report’s recommendation about the format of the Australian Sports Commission’s Board. In an earlier article she argued that the “sport panel has totally misread the nation’s love of the Olympics and the pride of beating bigger countries on the international stage.” Her first article summarises the Report’s main recommendations. This a video segment from athletes supporting funding for elite sport. This ABC post explores the ‘contentious nature’ of the Report. This ABC post reports the publication of the Crawford Report. This is the Canberra Times’ report of the publication under the headline ‘A sporting nation divided’.

Nicole Jeffrey notes that not all of the Crawford Report have been challenged. She notes that the Olympic sports have welcomed the recommendation that “the national sports federations should have primary responsibility for development of their own high-performance programs”. The sports have welcome statements about physical education in the national curriculum and the provision of funds to build sporting facilities. An ABC post noted that ‘Big Codes welcome Crawford Report‘. John Alexander argues that the “key to our health care costs which are crippling is preventative medicine in the form of physical activity. Australia needs a renaissance of our lost culture of the fun and exhilaration we enjoyed through active participation in sports.” Mike Hurst notes the importance of fitness in schools.

An editorial in The Age suggests that:

Australians will celebrate any gold medal won in 2012, even if it is in a sport they never think of between Olympics and even if it is won by someone they have not previously heard of and might never hear of again. Nor can anyone begrudge individual athletes their success. But, as the report notes, the present system funds such success at the rate of $15 million per gold medal. The nation’s self-esteem is surely neither so low nor so brittle as to require this level of investment, and it is money that in some instances could be more wisely spent. A shift to funding high-participation sports at grassroots levels might not result in the same surge of collective euphoria every four years, but it would contribute in a more sustained fashion to national wellbeing.

In the same paper, Greg Baum posits “Here is the nub. The Crawford report implies what we will say outright, that it would be poor reflection of our maturity as a nation if we continued to live and die exclusively by our Olympic medal tally.”

Richard Hinds argues that the AOC gravy train plan doesn’t have wheels. He concludes that when the Federal cabinet meets to discuss the response to the Report “In their hands will be a document that has the potential to prompt much- needed change in the impact sports funding has on the everyday lives of Australians – not just for those 16 chest-beating days every four years.” In an earlier article Richard Hinds observes that “It remains to be seen if the Crawford Report will be successful in its laudable intentions: to ensure government spending leads to increased grassroots participation, greater inclusiveness, the restoration of physical education in schools, a positive impact on public health and to improve and empower poorly administered sports.” Dan Silkstone explores the Report’s focus on participation sports and in another article discusses the gold medal stoush.

Ruth Brown, Charlie Happell and Trevor Cook provided a Crikey view of the Crawford report.

There have been some interesting comments in response to web based articles. As of 7.30 p.m. (EST) on 19 November, for example, there were 25 comments on John Coates’ article. One of these poses a question about the impact of investment in elite sport: “Has the advent of the funding of elite sport in Australia improved the health of young Australians over what it would have been without this funding? If so, it is money well spent. If not, then monies should be focused on participation rather than excellence. Before 100 million is given, this should be answered unemotionally and convincingly.”


Some links from 20 November via Peter Logue: a Sydney Morning Herald post by Malcolm Maiden and an interview with David Crawford on Radio National.

Australia Talks (Radio National) discussed the Crawford report 19 November