In what is some pretty joyous news in these bleak times, Australia’s medal-winning Paralympians will now be given the exact same medal bonuses as their Olympian counterparts, after years of receiving absolutely no cash bonuses for their hard-earned wins.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the introduction of equal payouts for Paralympian medal winners on Thursday during Question Time.
“I’m very pleased to announce that the government will provide additional support to Paralympics Australia to ensure our Paralympic medallists will receive equivalent payments to our Olympic medallists,” he said.
“Australia’s para-athletes have represented our nation with great distinction and pride in Tokyo, delivering performances that have buoyed millions during what is a difficult time for the nation.”
“The Minister for Sport, at my request, spoke to Paralympics Australia CEO Lyn Anderson earlier today, and I’m delighted we had been able to support our fantastic Paralympians in this way.”
In case you weren’t already aware, the Australian Olympic Committee pays out cash bonuses for Olympians, which works on a sliding scale: $20k for gold, $15k for silver, and $10k for bronze.
In addition to this, some sports – notably swimming and rowing – benefit from financial support from Gina Rinehart, who contributes up to $10 million every year. It allows athletes to make training their full-time job, an opportunity that has been missing for Paralympians.
Currently, Australia has won a total of 13 gold medals, 23 silver medals and 24 bronze at the Tokyo games, and now each of these winning Paralympians can enjoy a lovely sum of dollarydoos when they return.
Although Paralympians have been able to access grants of up to $17,500 from The Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), alongside federal funding included in the 2021-2022 Budget, there was nothing on the table for those who happened to land a podium placement.
This correction to bring forth equal pay is more than just a matter of money, it’s a step in the right direction towards treating Australia’s people with disabilities with equality and respect.
These are athletes who train just as hard, and perform just as well (if not better) than those who perform in the Olympics, and it’s about bloody time they received what they deserve.
Cheers to all of this.