One sport – the future course: independent review of athletics in Australia

27 Feb 2015

This review calls for major governance reform, an overhaul of Athletics Australia’s high performance practices and for the sport to be united under one structure.

Executive summary

Following the recent 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Board of Athletics Australia Limited, in partnership with the Australian Sports Commission, commissioned an independent review of the design, delivery and administration of Athletics in Australia to gather and evaluate evidence about their strengths and weaknesses and provide recommendations to AA on how best to address them. 

Media release

ONE SPORT – The Future Course; Independent Review of Athletics in Australia has called for major governance reform, an overhaul of Athletics Australia’s (AA) high performance practices and for the sport to be united under one structure.  

The review, chaired by former Australian cricket coach John Buchanan, was released today and highlighted significant issues facing the sport.  

These included a lack of accountability and transparency in decision making at AA, poor board management, poor organisational culture and poor high performance systems.  

“The situation that the sport of athletics finds itself in is not new. It has been a fragmented sport historically,” Buchanan said.  

“Poor governance procedures are central to this lack of an integrated and coordinated delivery of the sport.  

“The physical skills that an athletic program provides are fundamental to the health and well-being of all Australians.  

“The opportunities for the sport of athletics are enormous if it can get its act together, i.e. ONE SPORT, junior and senior, to provide the range of fundamental physical skills that benefit all people across most sports and activities, whether they are recreational athletes or have a desire to pursue a high performance pathway.”

The panel also comprised Melinda Gainsford-Taylor, Lynne Williams, Mark Bartels and Matt Favier.

The review received 51 submissions and conducted 136 interviews across all states and territories. It made 16 recommendations, the bulk relating to governance and high performance reforms.  

“While the review was comprehensive in its information gathering and extensive in its reporting and recommendations, the key to ensuring reforms of the sport are made is the implementation plan,” Buchanan said.  

The plan includes the establishment of an oversight committee comprising representatives from the ASC, AIS and AA to meet on a monthly basis and monitor the progress of reform until the committee is satisfied of AA’s progress for at least 18 months.  

It also recommended the ASC guarantee only 60 per cent of total funding to AA for 2015-16 with the balance to be provided when the oversight committee is satisfied with the progress made in implementing the recommendations.  

AA has also been asked to report quarterly to all key stakeholders identified by the oversight committee of its progress against the recommendations.    

Publication Details
Published year only: 
Subject Areas
Geographic Coverage