Bob Kucera

Bob Kucera

Former Minister for Disability Services; Sport and Recreation; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests; Seniors

    Australian sports leaders identify key issues in new survey

    31/10/2004 12:53 PM

    Drug use, the tarnished image of some elite athletes and the crisis in participation are key issues facing sport, a survey of 100 leaders in Australian sport has found.

    Sport and Recreation Minister Bob Kucera said participants in the survey, conducted by the Department of Sport and Recreation, included past sporting champions, current and past sports administrators, media commentators and coaches.

    Mr Kucera said the survey showed the sporting fraternity should be working to regain the high moral ground after a series of scandals involving elite athletes both in Australia and overseas.

    “Media sensationalism, over-commercialisation of elite sport, the mistreatment and harassment of women by some professional sports people, child protection and ugly parent syndrome all figure as issues that must be addressed,” he said.

    “Elite athletes have to accept that they are important role models for the community - particularly for kids - and it is vital that parents will, in future, confidently choose to involve their kids in sport.”

    Key issues nominated by sports leaders included the need for:
    • a consistent, tough and fair application of drug policies;
    • a system that reflected the values of fair play at all levels by athletes, coaches, parents and administrators;
    • a national program of physical education within primary schools;
    • ways to increase and maintain participation numbers across all sports;
    • a national program for physical activity targeting people of all ages and origins;
    • a strategy to stop the loss of volunteers;
    • reduced bureaucracy in sports administration; and
    • improved training of coaches.
    “The survey shows clear concern for the well-being of the sport system in Australia,” the Minister said.

    “The responses transcend political and parochial interests and challenge us to consider how, as a community, we can maintain the ‘sport product’ as a vital element of Australian lifestyle and culture.

    “It also asks the question - do we deal with issues like participation as an administrative issue or a resource issue?

    “Whatever the solution, we have to engage the community in the debate.”

    Mr Kucera said the survey would be an important guide for discussion at the 2004 National Leaders in Sport conference in Perth on November 11 and 12.

    The conference is the first of its kind to be staged in Western Australia and brings together a range of top-flight speakers, including former Wallaby Nick Farr-Jones, former International Olympic Committee marketing manager and current Formula One adviser Michael Payne, founder of the UK-based Extreme Group Alistair Gosling and Soccer Australia’s John O’Neill.

    The conference coincides with a Sport and Recreation Minister’s Council (SRMC) meeting, to be chaired by Mr Kucera, on November 12.

    Issues for discussion by State and Territory Sports Ministers include physical activity and obesity, women in sport, public liability insurance and risk management.

    Minister's office: 9213 7000