Transcript of interview with Tracey Holmes on ABC News Radio program The Ticket

Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's interview with Tracey Holmes on ABC News Radio program The Ticket speaking about the Commonwealth Games; sport funding; AOC and ASC relationship.

Page last updated: 15 May 2017

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14 May 2017


Topics: Commonwealth Games; sport funding; AOC and ASC relationship

Well Minister, thank you for joining us once again. Let’s talk about the federal Budget. There was a one off injection for the Commonwealth Games athletics preparation of about $15.5 million and that looks like about it. Other than that, it looks like a slippery slide for the next four years heading downwards.

Well really there’s a short term and a long term plan contained in the Budget. There are four things that are significant.

The first is $15.5 million for the athletes over the course of the next year leading into the Commonwealth Games. Related to that is another $34 million for Commonwealth Games activity to support security operations, other things with regards to the Games.

So that takes it up to $415 million in the Federal Budget, the first increase since 2009, I’m advised, in federal sports funding.

So that’s a fair historic criticism, but in this Budget we’ve made good steps. And then there are the long term elements.

The agreement, with the strong support of the Prime Minister and Treasurer to a long term national sports plan.

And as part of that, in particular, we will now be investigating with a very supportive mind frame, the concept of a national sports and heritage lottery.

So with the lottery, is there going to be a cap on how much of that money goes back to the athletes?

Well we’ll look at that as part of the national sports plan, but my goal is for as much of the funding as possible to be directly related to two things, sports participation and sports performance. So supporting athletes and supporting emerging athletes.

Is some of that money also earmarked for cultural programmes, the arts?

So what we’re looking at here is a lottery which would be a sports and heritage and arts lottery, but if you think of it as two thirds for sports and one third for heritage and the arts. It would still have to be agreed with the states.

So it’s a proposal at this stage, but having spoken over the course of the last few months with four state sports ministers, two Labor, two Liberal, I’ve had a very positive response.

So all up I am confident that we’ll get there. It will take about a year to set it up, but then it has the real prospect of significant, independent, long term, stable sports funding.

You talk about increasing participation, and of course that also goes into preventative health and the health of the nation and the younger generation coming through. And yet the funding for the school sport programme comes to an end in 2018.

Well we actually extended that program with $60 million in funding at the last election. I think the Labor Party provided zero.

So they offered a $60 million cut to it. That’s a program that I’m very hopeful will be extended some time, but this wasn’t the Budget in which to do it.

So often programmes have a certain date and then they’re considered in the Budget beforehand, but my approach to the Sporting Schools is exactly what we’ve done, which was to provide $60 million and then when it’s due to be replenished, to look at it at that time.

But I just note that the Labor Party provided zero for the Sporting Schools programme which was requiring of additional funds.

We put in $60 million, so they would’ve abolished it by now had they been in government.

Yeah, I’m happy not to talk about them because they’re not in government and you are.

No that’s fair enough. We put the money in and it runs for all of 2017 and all of 2018 and during the course of 2018, that’s when you consider a replenishment for 2019 and beyond.

Okay, so you talk about the $35 million which is going to the Commonwealth Games, but that is for security, it doesn’t benefit the athletes in any way.

The $15 million injection for athlete preparation does, but that is specifically for the Commonwealth Games. Why was there nothing there for the Winter Olympic team which is also competing in the same year?

That’s because it had already been paid. It had already received a replenishment through the Australian Sports Commission in the lead up.

I discussed that on Thursday this week with Matt Carroll, the excellent new chief executive of the Olympic Committee and he very happily acknowledged that.

Is it your intention for force the Australian Olympic Committee to open up that Olympic trust fund that was discussed much in the head in towards the election in the Danni Roach challenge to John Coates?

Well the Olympic trust fund is entirely the responsibility of the Olympic Committee, that’s an independent body, that’s been made known repeatedly.

So we have no control, no impact on the distribution of those funds. I think it’ll be valuable for them to be as transparent as possible, but that is entirely within the legal and practical control of the Olympic Committee, which itself is, as has been well reported over coming months, an entirely independent body.

Yes, but is it your hope that by diminishing funds from the federal Budget, that has to be prized open, in order, just to keep our athletes, our Olympians competitive on a world stage?

Well I think they provide a distribution which is the equivalent of about 4 per cent of the capital on any one year’s basis.

That’s pretty comparable with major university and other endowments. So I don’t have a criticism of that. The amount of funds that they’re distributing allows for continued growth in line with inflation or hopefully even with some real growth.

So I think that’s been very responsibly managed. There can be points of agreement or disagreements about how it’s distributed, but the quantum and the growth I think, have actually been a very responsible thing.

Alright. I just want to very quickly play you something that John Coates said last week, after he was re-elected and asked about the ongoing relationship with the Australian Sports Commission.


So, that was John Coates after winning re-election at the AOC AGM last week. Minister, you’re preparing to preparing to meet with both John Coates and John Wylie from the Sports Commission in the coming days or weeks, aren’t you?

Correct, and in fact I’ve already met with the two chief executives with Kate Palmer from the Sports Commission and the new CEO Matt Carroll from the Olympic Committee.

We had an excellent three-way meeting. One of the suggestions I put forward was that each body will consider inviting the chief executive to sit in on periodic meetings and the feedback I’ve had is that the AOC is interesting in having Kate Palmer represent the Sports Commission at the occasional meeting and that the Sports Commission is interested in having Matt represent the Olympic Committee.

And that was tremendous in the way that each of those organisations responded very positively.

Secondly, since the AOC election, we have had the federal Budget, the first increase in sports funding since 2009.

And in particular, what we are also seeing is a long term plan, a long term national sports plan, with the prospect of significant stable funding as I mentioned earlier through a national sports and heritage lottery.

So, that’s real and important in terms of a strategic approach both with regards to sport, but also sports funding.

I’m not sure that John Coates is going to share your interpretation of the figures in the Budget. He did say that he hasn’t had a go since London 2012. I’m sure you know what that’s like in a couple of days or weeks before you meet

All right. Thank you very much.

Thanks very much for your time, Minister.



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