Australian Sport: The pathway to success

Chapter 4: Striving for success

Page last updated: 31 October 2013

4.1 Supporting and retaining our high performance coaches and officials

It is unquestionable that the quality of coaching and officiating in Australia’s high performance programs over the last 20 years has been central to our international success. Our ability to identify, attract, develop, retain and recognise our coaches and officials has been a significant weapon in our sporting arsenal when we have fronted up to nations with larger population bases and sporting budgets.

In recent years however, we have seen a decline in our retention of high performance coaches.

The Australian Government is committed to working with sport to support coaches and officials along the grassroots and development pathways. We will provide:
  • A funding boost to enable the retention and support of national head coaches and senior coaches within the Australian sport system
  • Additional funding to NSOs to offer our top coaches packages which will make it viable to continue coaching in Australia
  • Additional funding to NSOs to support coaching and officiating initiatives which enable more volunteer coaches and officials to access training and education programs
  • Funding to support the establishment of clear pathways for the development of coaches and officials, as well as emerging coaches and our top officials.

4.2 Boosting support for international competition

Australian athletes can often be geographically disadvantaged when it comes to international competition – making it harder for our athletes to access high-level competition hubs in Europe and the United States.

Add to this the growing investment in high performance sport by our competitors and the emergence of sophisticated sports systems abroad means the need for international competition experience is intensifying.

The Australian Government values the role that competition plays in ensuring a strong development pathway for our aspiring and current world class athletes. We will:
  • Provide funding to support athletes to attend and participate in more international competitions, with a particular focus on emerging athletes and national junior development
  • Continue to work with the ASC to build the capacity of the European Training Centre, in line with the Government’s $11 million investment in 200910.

4.3 Investing in our high performance athletes

Without financial support to assist athletes to focus on their daily training environment, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Australian athletes to maintain the training regime and the commitment required for success, particularly at the international level.

The Australian Government recognises the critical importance of investing in our current and future champions so that they can focus on training full-time, preparing for competition and representing the green and gold. We will:
  • Expand support for our targeted elite athletes ranked in the top 3 in the world, as well as extending support to those ranked in the top 10 in the world
  • Provide funding to increase payments to our top athletes to ensure they can focus on their daily training and are competition ready.

4.4 Innovation, research and enhancing the athlete training environment

Australia’s international reputation for applying innovation and technology to sport is well known, celebrated and coveted.
However, in the last 20 years we have seen our international competitors adopt our systems and approaches, diluting our technological edge.

Innovation, research, science and technology will continue to be the drivers of Australian sporting excellence in the coming decades. The Australian Government is committed to investment in sport science by:
  • Expanding funding support for applied research projects that contribute to improved performance by Australian athletes and teams
  • Expanding the availability of sports science support for athletes.

4.5 Reforming our high performance institutions and academies

Despite having one of the most envied high performance systems in the world over the last 20 years, Australia’s institutes and academies of sport have been increasingly hampered and undermined by duplication, lack of co-ordination and lack of strategic direction.

Although the states and territories have shared the goal of maximising the success of Australian athletes on the international stage with the Australian Government, actions have often been determined on the basis of jurisdictional priorities without reference to a broader, national strategic plan.

While this system has served Australia well over the past 20 years it is clear that reform and re-alignment are critical if we are to breathe new life and strength into what is the backbone of our high performance system – the AIS and the state and territory institutes and academies of sport (SIS/SAS).

In a landmark agreement the Sport and Recreation Ministers’ Council (SRMC) has agreed for the first time to a new national approach that will deliver a more aligned, co-ordinated, and effective sport system.

The new national operational model for the institutes and academies of sport will improve alignment across the agencies, providing clarity on roles and responsibilities and development of a co-ordinated, national high performance strategy.

The agreement is based on the following principles:
  • Whole-of-pathway focus
  • Commonwealth, state/territory government partnership, shared investment, influence and accountability
  • National outcomes in the context of the National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework
  • Local flexibility and integrated decentralised delivery options catering for individual athlete and local needs
  • NSO high performance plans developed collaboratively, with the involvement of all key stakeholders and
  • Institutes and academies as partners, not just service providers
  • Economic efficiency gains at all levels. delivery partners

4.6 Continue the fight against drugs in sport

The Australian Government is committed to providing athletes with an even playing field by targeting drugs in sport.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is the key implementation agency for Australia’s anti-doping effort, supporting the Australian Government in coordinating and harmonising anti-doping initiatives with states and territories and with our national sporting organisations.

The Australian Government’s $20.1 million Illicit Drugs in Sport – National Education and Prevention Action Plan, developed in consultation with experts in the field and endorsed by the Australian National Council on Drugs, provides a comprehensive approach that recognises the importance of education, prevention, detection and rehabilitation in successfully tackling illicit drug use in sport and the broader community.


The Australian Government understands the importance of sport to our communities and to our nation.

We have made the single biggest investment in community sporting infrastructure that this nation has ever seen, delivering $300 million to sport under the $1 billion Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program (RLCIP).

With the release of Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success we are backing this up with an injection of $195 million in new funding to sport, the biggest increase in sports funding in Australia’s history, as well as a comprehensive plan of reform to benefit the health of our community and of our sports sector.

Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success takes a holistic approach to our sporting system that is aimed at strengthening sport as a whole.

Through renewed focus and strategy, enhanced partnerships across tiers of government, a close co-operative approach with our sporting organisations and the biggest increase to sports funding in Australia’s history, Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success maps the course for increased opportunities for Australians to participate in sport and activity – and Australia’s continued sporting excellence.