The Albanese Labor Government has today strengthened our commitment to protecting sporting participants through Sport Integrity Australia’s (SIA) Safety in Sport Division.
This announcement enables Sport Integrity Australia to play a national co-ordination role for sport integrity related matters, focusing on abuses of power such as discrimination and vilification.
Initiatives included in the Safety in Sport Division involve the engagement of a Deputy CEO of Safety and Culture Strategy who would inform SIA’s approach to dealing with a range of issues including discrimination based on race, culture, sexual and gender identity as well as abuse and mistreatment across all levels of Australian sport.
There will also be an expansion of the capability of SIA’s existing 1300 hotline for people to make complaints regarding abuses.
The expanded hotline will include an anonymous reporting capability focusing on wider racial and cultural issues in sport and a broadening of the education platform to inform culturally sensitive issues.
The Albanese Labor Government is also conducting a rapid review of Government sporting responsibilities at the Federal level to ensure there are no gaps and deliver greater clarity at the Commonwealth level.
The expansion of SIA’s operations will not include a takeover of existing integrity units in professional sport in Australia but will work closely in partnership to change cultures.
The Safety in Sport Division will not cover investigations of historical matters but will have the capability of listening to historical concerns to guide future strategies.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Sport, Anika Wells:
“Shockingly, since SIA opened its doors, it has received more than 1300 matters regarding sports integrity which shows the dire need for increased resourcing.
“The expanded hotline will provide people in sport an anonymous way to report abuse and will complement the existing complaints process managed through the National Integrity Framework.
“The hotline will provide a place for anyone in sport, past or present, to feel heard and seek support.
“In my short time as Federal Minister for Sport, I have set out to make a contribution that progresses integrity and equality within our wide world of sport.
“I am yet to find anyone who can assure me our sporting institutions are safe.
“This is the first step of many to help people in sport feel safe and have faithful means of reporting abuses.
“We expect this to feature in our 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Legacy policy, currently being developed.
“Our review of government sporting agencies will make sure we are properly aligned for the next ten years of the green and gold runway.”
Quotes attributable to Sport Integrity Australia CEO David Sharpe:
“Sport Integrity Australia is working to change the culture of sport from the community level up by embedding acceptable behaviours and anti-discrimination attitudes at all levels of sport.
“It is critical we start the conversation and education at the grassroots level because today’s five-year-old could be our 2032 Olympian.
“What action or response taken will be driven by the person coming forward to share their experience or story.
“This does not have to be public, they may just want someone to listen. Information gathered will allow the agency to further identify emerging trends and inform our education initiatives and strategies.
“The Safety in Sport Division will complement the existing integrity functions currently in place in professional sporting codes in Australia.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Garry: 0472 840 665