Morning Glory, SEN
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Presenters: Tim Watson and Andy Maher
12 May 2010
Topics: Sports budget, Melbourne Storm, FIFA World Cup bid, Adelaide Crows
Tim Watson: Huge night for the government, huge night for Australians last night with the 2010 budget handed down. And I look I think we're safe to say that Kate Ellis is our second favourite politician behind Justin Madden. It's fair to say - well ones at Federal.
Andy Maher: Oh, his crown's slipped somewhat in recent times.
Tim Watson: Kate Ellis, the Federal Minister for Sport has been good enough to join us on our humble little program. Good morning to you Minister.
Kate Ellis: Good morning, great to be with you.
Tim Watson: And it's great to have you with us. I know you're busy this morning. Sport is what we're interested in on this radio station - 24 hours a day, that's all we talk about here. It sounds like sport's been dealt a fairly friendly hand last night by the Budget?
Kate Ellis: Well it was a huge night for Australian sport. The biggest funding injection in our nation's history to go into sport was announced in the Budget last night, which is great news both for community sport and increasing participation rates, but also giving our athletes the best chance of success at an elite level.
Tim Watson: Kate, good morning it's Tim here. So you made public Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success and in part of that you stated that, our approach to sport has stagnated over the past decade, resulting in stunted participation rates, skyrocketing obesity numbers and an emerging decline in our international sporting performances. Why is that? Why did that happen?
Kate Ellis: Well to be honest with you, I think that some of it was complacency. We put such a focus into sport in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics and then we were very successful and I think people stepped back and coasted for a little while.
I think that also we've seen that we haven't kept up with the challenges of keeping the community active and particularly getting young people active. Every time there's a new computer game, every time there's a new website which attracts people's attention, it gets harder and harder to get people off the couch or off the chair and out there running and jumping and catching and throwing. And we need to be dedicated to those efforts and tackling the rising obesity rates at the same time.
Tim Watson: And Kate to that end, has there ever been a conversation that's taken place that actually makes it tax beneficial for people to become members of gyms or sporting clubs, golf clubs? If there was an incentive for people to join up and you got some tax relief by becoming a member, isn't that one way to incentivise people to sort of get up and get involved?
Kate Ellis: Well it is one way. But sadly from my own personal experience, I can say that even having a gym membership doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting any more active from time to time. And when you're talking about tax payer funding, then obviously we need to find a way to structure it to get the best bang for buck.
What we've done last night is not only just announced the biggest funding increase, but a change in policy, where from now on every national sporting organisation who receives taxpayer funds will have to increase their participation rates. And that will be a condition of their funding. That they will have to put in place a participation plan and we will help fund community clubs who come up with great ideas to get more people in their community active.
For the first time, we're putting in place federal funding that is directed to community programs, to grass roots participation as well as to our high performance athletes.
Tim Watson: Does this extend into the school system as well Kate?
Kate Ellis: Absolutely. I think one of the most important things is that we get kids active when they're at school. And what we announced last night was an education and sport strategy going forward that includes sport in the national curriculum.
So that there are real learning outcomes and we've got workforce strategies in place to get kids active. But also to get them to develop that love of sport when they're young, which hopefully will stick with them throughout their lives.
Tim Watson: Okay I've always thought and there's got to be some way - and I don't think we do this well enough yet in this country - there's got to be some way of linking schools, after school type programs into local sporting organisations. Is there - have you given this much thought at all?
Kate Ellis: We absolutely have. And I couldn't agree with you more which is why we said that we need a broader strategy around schools and education in sport.
Because the other thing that I think that we should be doing is recognising that there are some fantastic sporting facilities on our school grounds.
Particularly when we've gone through the process of Building the Education Revolution, building new gyms in schools right across the country. What we want to do is now have a look at how we can open them up for community use after hours. How we can get maximum bang for the buck out of the education system and its links to the sports system as well, which also means getting local community clubs to come and run coaching clinics and the like. Increasing their members, but also getting kids involved in sport. So there is much more that we can do in that space and we earmarked that last night that we intend to prioritise it going forward.
Tim Watson: We are talking to Kate Ellis, Federal Minister Sport. Kate, just on another topic and a lot of people will read about the budget in the papers today. Melbourne Storm was a huge talking point down in our neck of the woods. Are you comfortable from a government's perspective with the way the NRL have handled the Melbourne Storm situation?
Kate Ellis: Obviously, like everyone and particularly Melbourne Storm supporters, I wish that the whole saga had never taken place and I think that it's hugely disappointing, not just for rugby league, but for Australian sport when we see episodes like this.
But I do, and I've had several conversations with the NRL and with David Gallop about this, I am confident that they recognise that they have to act in a very tough manner if they are going to allow the Australian community to have confidence in the competition and if they are going to protect the integrity of sport.
I had a heated discussion with one of my colleagues who is a Melbourne Storm supporter a couple of days ago, but I absolutely maintain that we need to have strong penalties in place. We also need to make sure that there is a rigorous investigation so that the Australian community can have confidence in the competitions that they support and that they go out and pay their hard earned money to get along to.
Tim Watson: Who won that battle between you and Julia Gillard the other day? [laughs]
Kate Ellis: It actually wasn't Julia, I wouldn't be that brave [laughs]
Tim Watson: I was going to say you are brave. We are talking to Kate Ellis, the Federal Minister for Sport. Now you are off to Zurich again later today. What stage of the World Cup bid are we at, at the moment?
Kate Ellis: We're at crunch time. On Friday we will be formally submitting the bid book and doing the official presentation of the Australia bid.
So Friday is the day that we actually submit it. All of the hard work in finalising the bid, negotiations with State and Territory Governments, of course we've seen earlier in the week, an understanding with the other football codes, in particular AFL, all of that has been finalised.
We now lodge it and get on with the really important business of getting out there and selling it and convincing the rest of the sporting international community before they make their decision in December.
Tim Watson: A big hurdle was overcome with the AFL the other day to allow the World Cup, if we get the rights, to host it to take place alongside the AFL season. Now we have just got to work out the compensation for that.
Kate Ellis: Absolutely and we do have some time going forward. What we have done is worked out how that will occur and I'm really grateful to the AFL, to the ARL, to the NRL, to Cricket Australia for signing up and showing that this is really a united bid in the name of Australian sport.
The single biggest sporting event on the planet and there's no better place to host it than right here in Oz.
So I’ll be working very hard over the next few months to do everything I can to make it a successful bid.
Tim Watson: Okay, very quickly, we know you are a Crows fan, are you happy with the way they are travelling at the minute?
Kate Ellis: Well, you know you are in strife when you are hooting about your big victory over Richmond [laughter].
Tim Watson: Well that's enough said…
Kate Ellis: It's been a tough year and I know it's been a tough year for Tiger supporters too, so I can certainly relate to it, anyway.
Tim Watson: We will have you anytime you want to make the cross over to our side Kate.
Kate Ellis: I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
Tim Watson: Good luck with Frank Lowy, with the bid, that's the big one now and we wish you all the best with that. Thanks for joining us.
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