Thursday, May 10, 2012
On Monday in Canberra, the Australian government released its annual budget, one that promises a A$1.5 billion surplus for the year, but little was said of the potential impact of the budget on Australian sport in an Olympic year when Australia is looking to earn the fewest medals since the 1996 Games in Atlanta. There were no apparent surprises for the sports sector in Australia in this budget. The budget, available online, claims A$380 million has been spent preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games.
According to Keith Lyons, the University of Canberra Director of the National Institute of Sport Studies, sport is an important part of Australian culture and the development of sport enjoys bipartisan support. The sport “budget supports infrastructure developments and reflects a renewal of Australian sport venues post Sydney [Olympics] 2000. The Active After School investment reflects a commitment to support participation and engagement in physical activity and sport.”
When Tony Naar of the Australian Paralympic Committee was asked about the impact of the budget on his organisation’s efforts, he said there was little to report as there were “very few previously unannounced initiatives… the overall level of program funding was in line with the final year of the current funding cycle”.
The budget promises to support cricket, specifically the 2015 Cricket World Cup, and soccer (football) with the 2015 Asian Cup by allocating funding for facility improvement. A$50 million will be spent on redeveloping the Sydney Cricket Ground, A$30 million on redeveloping the Adelaide Oval, and A$15 million on redeveloping the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. A partnership between the government, New South Wales Government and the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust will cover additional costs associated with the Sydney Cricket Ground with work completed by 2014. Local sporting infrastructure will be supported in the budget with A$30 million earmarked for this, A$10 million specifically to improve Melbourne’s Olympic Park Precinct, A$5 million to support football in western Sydney, and A$3 million for Football New South Wales to build a new headquarters.
The budget promises assistance to parents to defray the cost of their children’s extracurricular activities including sport as part of the SchoolKid Bonus, which will replace the Education Tax Refund. Support for school based youth sport with A$39.2 million allocated to Active After-School Communities, a program that reaches 190,000 children, which encourages them to participate in school sports. In an attempt to curb drowning deaths of young children, an initiative has been launched to improve water safety that will be run through early childhood centres. A$19.2 million was extended to the Australian Sport Commission to run its Active After-School Communities program in 2012/2013 with similar funding for 2013/2014. 2,000 schools and 1,300 after/out of school programs will benefit from the funding.
Community Street Soccer was allocated A$1.0 million for 2012/2013 and A$1.6 million for 2013/2014. Aimed at bringing the homeless and unemployed into the community through participation in soccer, Reclink Australia will be given the funding to implement the program.
A$4.8 million was allocated to the Clontarf Foundation in New South Wales to support local sport and utilised elsewhere encourage Indigenous girls to participate in sport in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria and Queensland through the Sporting Chance Program.
Canberra’s Centenary celebrations are addressed in the Federal budget, with A$2.6 million allocated for 2011/2012, A$2.0 million allocated for 2012/2013 and A$1.0 million allocated for 2013/2014. Some money will go towards sport as a part of these celebrations.
The Federal government is investing in Glenorchy, Tasmania, budgeting A$8.7 million in the redevelopment of the King George V sports and community precinct, with the money given to the local government. Not all of the money is earmarked for sport, with some money paying for a dedicated office for the Migrant Resource Centre.
A$1,870,000 less was budgeted for the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority from what was actually spent in 2011/2012’s budget. The government expects A$5.8 million in savings in the next four years because of changes in athlete doping testing.
In the 2011/2012 budget year, A$2,729,510 was spent on Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport in special appropriations. The 2012/2013 budget earmarks A$1,117,783 for this category. All money in the category is allocated in line with the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995. In the Sport and Recreation Special Account out of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet appropriation budget, the cash flow and balance opened the budget year with A$920,000 and receipts totaled A$317,000.
In the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport appropriation budget, the Sport and Recreation Special Account had has an opening balance of A$949,000. Estimates for receipts for 2012/2013 are A$537,000, up from A$220,000 in actual receipts in 2011/2012’s budget. The Australian Sports Commission spent A$214,534,000 in 2011/2012 in their first budget category, and have a smaller budget of A$101,942,000 for 2012/2013 in the same category. In their budget second category, they spent A$54,159,000 in 2011/2012, with the 2012/2013 budget increasing the budget to A$166,201,000. For total appropriations, the first area decreased by a total of A$117,170,000 and the second area saw an increase in of A$114,353,000.