The IOC is expected to announce Brisbane as 2032 host. (Wikimedia commons: Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
Brisbane 2032 has submitted its final bid documents to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Future Host Commission and on Friday will present its plans to the influential ASOIF Council, a select group representing the international governing bodies of all Olympic summer sports.
The IOC is expected to announce Brisbane as 2032 host at its session in Tokyo on July 20 and 21, on the eve of the games.
In concert with the countdown to the Olympic vote, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) have written to the federal government calling for a “fundamentally new investment model” for sport and the need to “transform the industry’s relationship with government”.
It is a thinly-veiled swipe at the current model administered by the Australian Sports Commission, the government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport, with oversight of Sport Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.
The AOC and CGA have requested a meeting with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to discuss their proposed involvement in shaping the government’s 2021 Intergenerational Report due out in June.
A letter seen by The Ticket, and signed by the CEOs of both the AOC and CGA, Matt Carroll and Craig Phillips, says, in part:
“Historically, the AOC, CGA and our collective Member Sports have not made a submission or provided any input to the government’s deliberative process in calibrating its economic and policy responses to the intergenerational challenges faced by the nation.
With one eye on Brisbane 2032 the AOC and CGA will take their plan to the federal government.(ABC News: Nick Wiggins)
“The AOC and CGA view this omission as a serious failing on our part.”
Attached to the letter is a 57-page submission titled, Sport — Powering Australia’s Future (10+10) detailing a holistic sports plan building towards 2032 with an eye also to the decade beyond.
“The AOC, CGA and Member Sports acknowledge and welcome the investment that the government has made in additional program funding to Sport Australia/AIS,” the report says.
“However, this program investment approach rather than holistic direct grants to sports, creates winners and losers and does not promote the building of the capability and capacity of the individual sports.”
Obesity, mental health, education, and nation-building are listed as areas where sport can contribute to government policies, as well as aiding in the nation’s COVID-19 recovery.
Since the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, relations between the Australian Olympic Committee and the Australian Sports Commission have slowly deteriorated, reaching a low point in 2017.
While sometimes personal, most of the disagreements have been philosophical.
How government funding is dispersed, and how results are measured, have left some sports bodies struggling to remain solvent, while those already well-funded and successful have become more so.
Not just about the money
Now the AOC, with the support of CGA, wants a bigger say.
Said Matt Carroll, CEO of the AOC: “Between the two organisations we represent more than 13 million Australians who participate in sport, basically half the population of the country.
“That obviously has an important social role, an important economic role, and so we should be putting a submission into the intergenerational report.
Matt Carroll says 10 years gives Australia enough time to increase children’s participation in sport. (Supplied: John XXIII College)
“Like in sport, it’s all about the right timing, and this is absolutely the right timing because the opportunity to get 2032 gives us a 10-year runway… the following 10 years is an opportunity for the country to benefit from an investment in sport.
Asked whether the report was stepping into the Australian Sports Commission’s turf, Carroll said: “Look… is it taking over from the Sports Commission? No.
“We’ve said in the report we need to work with the Sports Commission… but that is a government agency, we are independent.
“We are representing our 46 member sports, and their needs, but also more importantly how we can bring the power of the sports industry to the benefit of the country.
“There are roles for sport in mental health, in infrastructure, and because of sports major events we can play a role in tourism and jobs… it is the social importance sport provides and the economic benefits as well.
“We can spell that out better because we are independent.
“We should have been doing more of this advocacy in the past.”
The AOC often points out it receives no government funding.
That is a fact, made possible by a deal done with the NSW government at the time Sydney was preparing to host the 2000 Olympics.
Then NSW Olympic minister Michael Knight agreed to pay the AOC $100 million in exchange for veto rights on the board of the organising committee and games profits.
Eight-year-olds today, Olympians tomorrow
It was seen as a masterstroke by AOC president John Coates, enabling the committee to fund all future Olympic teams from profits stemming from its investment and freeing it of the need to rely on government funding.
Asked whether a similar deal will be sought ahead of the Brisbane 2032 games, Carroll said: ‘No, it is not about that at all… that can’t happen again.
“That was a one-off thing back in 2000.
“The foundation that was set up, the legacy of the 2000 Games, has enabled the AOC not to require any assistance.
“Currently we are in a pandemic and the bill for the Tokyo team is up close to $22 million.
“We are not asking for any public support, or government support for that. We work with our sponsors, our commercial program and the foundation provides a revenue stream to the AOC to do those things.
“All those eight-year-olds are not going to become Olympians, but if they get a better health outcome, a better mental health outcome, we drive obesity down… you need those galvanising moments, and the Olympic Games are very useful for that along with the other international events we can have in the next 10 years.”
The submission doesn’t nominate a figure for government funding but suggests “having a conversation” around the four recommendations contained in the report and “how that investment is managed”.
“We think we can do it better than the way it is currently being managed,” Carroll said.
Originally published by ABC News HERE.