June 07, 2005

Australian Federal Budget

There were a couple of stories last month about the recent Australian federal budget and the impact on amateur sport. I have had some interest in figuring out how much Australia actually spends on sport following a discussion on a previous post.

Unfortunately I find these two articles (pre-budget, post-budget) rather confusing. I don't know if there are any Aussies out there who can help me make sense of this. There are a bunch of numbers thrown around:

  • $50M budget commitment to sport
  • $14.8M to NSFs
  • $272.5M for Commonwealth Games over four years, with $184M for this year
  • $6.8M Direct Athlete Support provided to Commonwealth Games athletes from federal government; matching amount from Australian Commonwealth Games Association
  • AOC (non-government) provides $36M in funding
  • AOC demands $17M in government funding; $4.6M is Direct Athlete Support for Olympic athletes

During the 1995-2003 period, Sport Canada had an average budget of about $65M per year, of which they contributed about $24M per year to the NSFs for Olympic sports. They also contributed about $10M per year to the Athlete Assistance Program, which would be roughly equivalent to Direct Athlete Support. So overall it looks like Australia spends less money on sport than Canada does, which makes the medal table even more embarassing.

Of course, this may not be entirely fair, depending how funding responsibilities are divided up in Australia. It may be that there are other major sources of funding that are hidden here, or it may be that I am still confused about the federal numbers.

There's also an interesting little tidbit in here about Australia's plan to colonize Europe:

[AOC President John] Coates praised the decision to establish a “Euro hub” near Varese in Italy to be used by all sports … “Even though the games are in Beijing there will still be a need for our sports to travel to Europe for a high level of competition” he said. “Acclimatising in the European summer prior to the Athens Games proved a master stroke for the Australian Olympic Team.”

Canada should get in on this! After all, we face many of the same geographic problems that the Aussies do, although to a lesser degree. And pooling our resources would probably be a lot more efficient than either country going alone.


Anonymous said...

I agree -- we should have done this years ago -- establish a base camp in europe that is really a summer training center -- oh well we cant even get together to have a summer training center in Canada -- what makes me think the myopic COC and Sport Canada would be able to do it in Europe....

Amateur said...

Can you believe Dr. Don accused me of getting cynical in my old age?