Aussie Athletes Could Hit The Funding Jackpot Via A New National Lottery

Despite the fact that we’re a nation of a mere 23 million-odd people who have historically punched eons above our weight on the global sporting stage, it’s statistically fair to suggest that our medal haul at the Rio Olympics was a little bit below what the nation’s sporting programs are capable of producing.
Now, quite obviously, there are many other factors in play with athlete performance at an Olympics. Like, for example, the sheer amount of effort, timing, management, and flat-out good luck it takes to arrive at a fourteen day event that happens once every four years at the absolute peak of physical and mental preparation.
But the solid leg up in all professional sports quite obviously comes from the funding it receives, which allows athletes to pursue their craft on a full-time level, backed and supported by elite resources, coaching, and medical staff.
Currently, the vast bulk of Australian Olympic sport funding comes from the Federal Government (save for maybe the Australian Dolphins swim team, which currently benefits from a partnership with Hancock Prospecting.
Following Rio, officials in charge of Australian sport have conceded that a better relationship between sporting codes, and alternative funding models, are required if Australia is to climb back up the medal tally at future Olympics.
Australian Sports Commission boss John Wylie has gone so far as to propose a British-style national lottery that will pour big amounts of cash back into sport.
The proposed online lottery would open a vast new stream of revenue for Australian sport, as the Australian Institute of Sport and the eight state-based sports performance institutes mull a plan that would roll everything into one over-arching National Sports Institute.
Federal funding for sport in the country has shrunk from $268million in 2011, down to $254million over the past financial year. A lottery, coupled with increased commercial partnerships, would boost the funding for sport whilst simultaneously easing the burden on the Federal budget.
Wylie details the plan thusly:

“There is little doubt that the world of sport is becoming much more competitive globally and Australia can’t expect to enjoy the sporting success of yesteryear with yesteryear’s funding.”

“Do Australians really want to see Australia improve our competitiveness in the highest levels of international sport or are we prepared to settle for less? If we do want to improve and recover then we have no choice but to embrace reform and go for it.”

“It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the British funding model is better and smarter than ours in today’s world.”

The British model sees the UK National Lottery deliver around 70% of the total funding for sport in the country. Any planned Australian National Lottery would likely face stiff opposition from existing lotto operators.

Source: Herald Sun.
Photo: Adam Pretty/Getty.