Australian Sports Commission

Australian Sports Commission

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is the governing body responsible for distributing funds and providing strategic guidance for sporting activity in Australia. It is an agency of the Government of Australia within the portfolio of Health and Ageing. It implements national sports policy principally through three divisions, the Australian Institute of Sport, Community Sport and Sport Performance and Development.


The beginnings of the Australian Institute of Sport

Although it is commonly believed that the Australian Government's initial involvement in sport was prompted by the country's poor performance at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games in which Australia failed to win a gold medal, the Government actually began initial investigations into its potential role in sport in 1973. It was at this time that the Government commissioned Professor John Bloomfield to prepare a sports plan for the country. His report, "The Role, Scope and Development of Recreation in Australia", was based on studies of sports institutes in Europe and their success in developing elite athletes. Bloomfield suggested to the Government that it should establish a national institute of sport similar to those operating in European countries.

Following receipt of the report, the Minister for Tourism and Recreation, Frank Stewart, appointed a study group (chaired by Dr Allan Coles to report on the feasibility of establishing a sports institute in Australia. The Coles Report was released in 1975 and recommended the establishment of the institute.

Although the recommendation to establish the institute was made in 1975, it was not until 1981 that the institute was established. The delay in establishing the institute is commonly considered to be a combination of poor support for Australian sport following the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the uneasiness between the Australian Olympic Federation (now the Australian Olympic Committee) and the Government. This uneasiness was caused over the Federation ignoring the Government's request to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games because of Russia's invasion of Afghanistan.

The Bloomfield and Coles reports, however, were not lost on Bob Ellicott, the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment. Buoyed by the concept of a national sports institute during a trip to China and keen to bridge the gap between government and sport, in 1980 Ellicott and his staff offered the Coles Report as a model plan for Australia. The plan would allow athletes to train and develop in Australia rather than be forced overseas. Ellicott's vision was well received and on Australia Day, 26 January 1981, the AIS was officially opened by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Renowned swim coach, Don Talbot was appointed as the Institute's first Director.

With the Institute established, the Commonwealth Government had begun its involvement in Australian sport.

In August 1987 the government formalised their decision to rationalise federal assistance to Australian sport and the AIS merged with the Australian Sports Commission, which was to be the agency responsible for general sports participation as well as high performance sport.


The ASC is a statutory authority of the Australian Government, that is governed by a board of Commissioners appointed by the Minister for Sport. The ASC's roles and responsibilities are prescribed in the "Australian Sports Commission Act 1989". In 2004/05 the Government portion of the ASC's budget was $A145.794m. In addition, the ASC generated an additional A$24.812m in revenue from corporate sources such as sponsorship, hire of facilities and interest, from external sources such as Government departments and agencies, and from national sporting organisations.

The ASC attempts to promote an effective national sports system that offers improved participation in quality sports by all Australians. In addition, the ASC helps those who are talented and motivated to reach their potential excellence in sports performance. The ASC achieves these objectives by administering and funding national sporting programs on behalf of the Government and providing leadership, co-ordination and support for the sport sector.

The ASC works closely with a range of national sporting organisations, state and local governments, schools and community organisations to ensure sport is well run and accessible so that everyone can participate and enjoy the benefits. The ASC supports participation in sport, from grass roots participation to participation at the elite level. The ASC deliverers it services through several divisions:

Australian Institute of Sport

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is the best-known division of the ASC. The AIS offers over 700 scholarships to talented junior and senior athletes across 35 programs in 26 different sports. The insititue also offers athletes access to expert coaching, world-leading sports science and sports medicine services, state-of-the-art sports facilities, and opportunities for travel, work and study.

port Performance and Development

The Sport Performance and Development division provides a range of advisory and support services to assist national sporting organisations (NSOs) and their affiliated organisations and clubs to conduct their business in an effective, efficient and inclusive way.

Community Sport

In response to what has been described as an 'obesity epidemic' in Australia, the ASC is undertaking programs intended to combat declining physical activity levels and poor eating habits amongst children. Under the "Building a Healthy, Active Australia" initiative, the ASC has received additional funding from the Australian Government to co-ordinate the "Active After-school Communities" program.

A part of the Community Sport division, the Active After-school Communities (AASC) program aims to encurage children to participate in free after-school structured physical activities at primary schools and approved child care centres. The programme began in 2005 and currently has over 150,000 children involved with 3,250 schools and child care centres participating.

National Sports Programs

The National Sports Programs division was created in July 2006 and assumes responsibility for the ASC's national programs of Coaching/Officiating, Disability, Fair Play, Harassment Free, Indigenous, Membership and Club Development, Ethics and Women in Sport. In addition, the division will house the new programs of National Athlete and Coach Career and Education and National Talent Search and Development. The ASC's International Relations will also be managed by this division.

Commercial and Facilities

The Commercial and Facilities division provides a range of internal services to other divisions within the ASC and also to community users. The functions undertaken by the division include: building operations; building and infrastructure maintenance; capital works; procurement advice; logistic support; operation of sport and conference facilities; catering, cleaning; residential accommodation; tours; merchandising; activity booking and coordination; child care; swim and fitness training; and administering of the Australian Sport Foundation.

Corporates Services

The Corporate Services division provides corporate support for the organisation in human resources strategy and management, research and corporate planning, communications and information management. The division also overseas the National Sport Information Centre, which is Australia's leading sports information resource centre.


The Finance division manages all internal and external components of financial management, including financial reporting for the ASC and its subsidiaries, budget development and management, compliance with all statutory and legislative obligations and provision of strategic financial advice to the CEO and Board.

External links

* [ Australian Sport Commission]
* [ Australian Institute of Sport]

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