Our performance

High performance

Key activities

Throughout 2017–18, a key priority was the transformation of the AIS in line with a new performance strategy. This transformation included the design and implementation of a new AIS organisational structure, as well as the transition of AIS expertise out to the sector to be embedded within sport to assist in the delivery of their respective national high performance programs.

In 2017–18, the AIS continued to support NSO high performance programs and their athletes as they undertook the final preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Key activity areas included:

  • providing targeted investment to NSOs to enable them to deliver high performance programs that achieve international success
  • providing support and advice to assist sports with high performance strategy, planning and program delivery
  • developing and delivering customised athlete, coach and leader talent initiatives to optimise high performance outcomes
  • planning, coordination and delivery of sports science and sports medicine expertise to ensure Australia’s athletes get the right support at the right time
  • supporting innovative solutions for prioritised sports and promoting the growth of new knowledge and expertise for high performance sport
  • leading a more streamlined high performance network that supports identified athletes and teams across jurisdictions.

Success is measured at a sector level through Australia’s performance at major international events, recognising the lead role the AIS plays in the Australian high performance system and the range of groups that contribute to these results. At the AIS level, we measure the impact of our services through the improvement in capability of NSOs to deliver effective high performance programs and the alignment of the high performance network.

High performance activities are the cornerstone in the delivery of PBS Program Objective A, delivering international sporting success. Program Objective A outlines how the AIS will contribute to PBS Outcome 1.

Our results

Table 1: Sport Australia performance against high performance deliverables

Performance criteria

Australia’s performance at major international events



Number 1 ranked country at 2018 Commonwealth Games

Maintain top 15 at PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Maintain top 15 at PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games



Not achieved


Supporting statement

Australia was ranked 1st on the medal tally at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Australia was ranked 23rd on the medal tally at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Australia was ranked 15th on the medal tally at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games

Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2017–2021, page 9. Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, program objective A, page 274.

The Australian team performed with great pride and distinction at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Our overall result of 198 medals—80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze—resulted in Australia finishing on top of the medal tally at the completion of the Games. A total of 474 individual and team-sport athletes competed at the Games, and of these a total of 328 athletes (69 per cent) received direct funding through the dAIS scheme, including 219 who received additional funding provided by Commonwealth Games Australia. A number of Sport Australia staff were seconded to Commonwealth Games Australia or an NSO during the Commonwealth Games in a servicing or coaching capacity, as well as delivering specific initiatives including the 2018 Global Coaches House—a joint initiative with the International Council for Coaching Excellence, Griffith University and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The AIS used $15.5 million of one-off funding announced in the 2017–18 Federal Budget to ensure high performance funding was at least maintained at 2016–17 levels to all sport programs competing at the Commonwealth Games. In total, $55.4 million of AIS High Performance funding was provided to Commonwealth Games sports, up from $53.4 million in 2016–17. The dAIS program distributed a total of $12.9 million in 2017–18, with 934 athletes receiving support.

Australia finished 23rd on the 2018 Winter Olympic medal table which, while falling short of our target of a top 15 position, included three first-time Winter Olympic medallists and a number of top six results, indicating a promising future. Australia claimed three medals: two silver and one bronze, equal to our medal performance at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. While this result was in the total medal target of 3–5 medals, it fell short of the gold medal target of 1–2 gold, which would have seen Australia finish closer to a top 15 ranking. The Aerial Skiing team missed a medal for the first time since 2002.

The 2018 Winter Olympics was the largest on record, with 92 countries represented and nearly 3,000 athletes, demonstrating the depth and intense level of competition that Australian athletes face on the world stage. In the four years prior to the Games, the Australian Government invested $16.1 million in high performance funding through the AIS to winter sports, $1.1 million of which was provided directly to athletes through the dAIS funding program.

The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games broke many records, with more athletes from more countries competing, more media and broadcast rights holders attending, and more tickets sold than at any previous Winter Paralympic Games. Twenty six out of the 49 delegations won at least one medal, beating the mark set at Lillehammer in 1994, with a record number of 20 taking gold. Australia finished the competition with four medals—a gold and three bronze—resulting in a finish of 15th on the medal table and our best performance since the 2002 Winter Paralympic Games. Australia fielded its largest Winter Paralympic team, with 12 athletes and three guides, of which seven were first-time Paralympians.

Case study: dAIS

The AIS invests $13 million in direct grants to hundreds of Australian athletes each year. The grants scheme, known as dAIS, supports emerging and podium athletes in Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports. A total of 328 Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes received direct funding through the dAIS scheme, including 220 of the 261 medallists. Amy Cure, a 2018 Commonwealth Games dual gold medallist, says ‘dAIS allows me to train hard and reach my full potential without having the financial stress of having to have a part-time/full-time job’. Amy is a track cyclist and has been a dAIS recipient since 2011–12.

Through a partnership with Commonwealth Games Australia, an additional $2 million in dAIS grants was provided in the two years leading up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In this period, 142 medallists received funding, including three gold medallists who would not have received dAIS funding otherwise: Christopher Remkes (Gymnastics); Zac Alexander (Squash) and Elijah Winnington (Swimming).

Table 2: Sport Australia performance against high performance deliverables

Performance criteria

Improved capability of NSOs to deliver effective high performance programs

2017–18 target

The Annual Sport Performance Review shows improvement in the high performance capability of NSOs, compared to 2016–17 results


Significant progress

Supporting statement

Overall 76.4 per cent of sports either maintained or increased their overall rating across the six high performance drivers 2016-17 to 2017–18.

Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2017–2021, page 9. Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, program objective A, page 274.

The AIS has continued to support NSOs to achieve their performance targets and build capability within sports and more broadly across the sports sector. The Annual Sport Performance Review (ASPR) is Sport Australia’s formal assessment process for funded NSOs, and includes the identification of critical actions, including Sport Australia support, which will enhance NSO capability. The ASPR considers performance across four key areas: governance, high performance, participation and finance.

Sports that sustain podium success on the world stage typically demonstrate excellence in both planning and execution of their high performance programs. As part of the high performance review, sports are assessed against their capability across the six high performance drivers (Athletes, Coaching, Leadership, Daily training environment, Competition, and Research and innovation) and ratings are provided on a five-point scale against the drivers. The assessment is sport specific and must be considered within the context of the capability and resourcing of each sport, including the strengths, current priority areas and critical issues facing the sport across the six drivers. The capability assessment is based on continuous improvement and evolving best practice in key areas of high performance delivery.

In 2017–18, 55 sport programs underwent an assessment of high performance capability, with a total of 27 sport programs (49 per cent) being rated as ‘On Track’, and a further four rated as

‘Performing’ (7 per cent). Twenty-four sport programs (44 per cent) received a rating of ‘Progressing’ and, significantly, no programs received an overall rating as ‘Underperforming’.

Comparing 2017–18 results to 2016–17, an improvement has been seen in the total percentage of sport programs rated as ‘On track’ or above, along with under-performing sport programs moving up to a ‘Progressing’ rating or higher. However, fewer sport programs were rated as ‘Performing’ or ‘Excelling’, which reflects the four-year Olympic cycle, whereby a number of sports reset their strategies and capability programs post the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Table 3: Sport Australia high performance capability assessment results


2016–17 (%)

2017–18 (%)







On track










Key activities

In 2017–18, Sport Australia continued to focus on driving demand for lifelong participation in sport and physical activity, including through the delivery of the Sporting Schools program. Sporting Schools was expanded to secondary schools from July 2017 through a targeted program which aims to address the barriers that prevent youth from participating in sports.

Sport Australia has broadened its focus on participation to include sport and physical activity, and has contributed to the development of Sport 2030.

Sport Australia continued to support participation growth through the provision of targeted investment and support to NSOs. Key activities included:

  • providing targeted investment to NSOs to help them grow their participation base
  • providing leadership that assists NSOs with participation strategies, planning and operations
  • developing and disseminating high-quality information, research and data to better understand what is happening in sport and society
  • driving demand for lifelong participation in sport by focusing on younger Australians through the Sporting Schools program and a focus on physical literacy.

Success is measured at both a system level through AusPlay data, and at an output level through the delivery and success of the Sporting Schools program. Participation activities are reflected in PBS Program Objective B, increasing participation in sport. Program Objective B outlines how Sport Australia will contribute to Outcome 1.

Our results

Table 4: Sport Australia performance against participation deliverables

Performance criteria

Increase in the percentage of Australians participating in organised sport (traditional or social)



AusPlay survey results show an increase in sport participation compared to previous year



Supporting statement

AusPlay data for 2017 shows an increase in sport participation with 11.7 million people participating once a year (57.9 per cent) and 4.3 million three times per week (21.5 per cent) compared with 11.3 million (57.0 per cent) and 3.9 million (19.9 per cent) in 2016.

Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2017–2021, page 10. Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, program objective B, page 274.

AusPlay, first launched in October 2015, provides robust participation data for the government and the sport sector to help better understand the participation landscape and identify strategies to grow participation. The AusPlay survey collects data from 20,000 adults and 3,600 children annually with updated data released every six months. The April 2018 release, which covered the survey period.

January 2017 to December 2017, showed an increase in total participation in sport-related activities1 for people aged 15 years across all frequency categories compared with the April 2017 data.

Table 5: Ausplay results

Total participation in sport-related activities1 for people in Australia aged 15 years and older

Jan 16–Dec 16

Jan 17–Dec 17

1 x per year


11.3 million


11.7 million

1 x per week


8.1 million


8.6 million

3 x per week


3.9 million


4.3 million

AusPlay also collects participation data related to all physical activity, including sport-related and non-sport related activity2, such as walking and yoga. The data for the 2017 survey period showed an increase in physical activity across all frequencies compared to 2016, with 82.2 per cent (16.5 million) participating weekly and 63.0 per cent (12.7 million) participating three times per week. In 2018–19, Sport Australia will expand its focus more broadly on physical activity, in line with our strategic priority to get more Australians moving more often.

Sport Australia has delivered investment for participation initiatives to NSOs, and has continued to work closely with sport in the execution of participation strategies and the provision of research to support participation growth. In 2017, Sport Australia engaged Neilson Sports to conduct extensive research and consultation to identify the key strategy areas that are common to sports with successful sports participation programs. The Drivers of Participation Framework was developed as a result of this work, and Sport Australia tested the framework with selected NSOs in 2017–18.

Sport Australia also continued its work on physical literacy, undertaking the Physical Literacy Pilot Program, which seeks to test physical literacy approaches among diverse population groups and participation settings to determine appropriate methods for implementation and adoption of physical literacy in Australia. Complementing this, Sport Australia commissioned the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth to undertake research around intervention and engagement approaches that would involve parents in child development and sport participation outcomes. Sport Australia also released the Teaching Sport to Children discussion paper, recognising the importance that school-based sport and physical activities play in the development of children’s physical literacy and, ultimately, their lifelong participation in sport and physical activity. Feedback from this discussion paper is being used to improve the way sport and physical activity are delivered to children, and to ensure that the people who deliver sport and physical activity are suitably prepared and supported in their roles.

  1. Sport-related activities include team sports (basketball, football, Australian football, cricket, netball, etc.), athletics (including running and jogging), swimming, cycling and golf, etc. These are typically activities related to NSOs, although the participant may or may not play the activity through an affiliation with the NSO.
  2. Non-sport related activities include, gym/fitness activities, walking and bushwalking, recreational dance, etc. These are typically activities not related to NSOs.

Case study: AusPlay

A focus in the AusPlay April 2018 release was children’s participation, aligning with our priority to have more young Australians participating more often. AusPlay collects data from parents related to children’s organised physical activities, both sport and non-sport related; however, only those activities which are undertaken outside of school hours are within the scope of AusPlay. The overall child participation rate rose in 2017 compared with 2016.


In terms of child participation frequency in 2017:

  • 63% of children participated in organised physical activity outside of school hours at least once per week (up from 56% in 2016)
  • 25% of children participated in organised physical activity outside of school hours at least three times per week (up from 20% in 2016)

Child participation frequency

 1+ per week1+ per month1+ per year3+ per week
Table 6: Sport Australia performance against participation deliverables

Performance criteria

Number of student attendances in the Sporting Schools program






Supporting statement

From 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 there were 1,634,766 student attendances in the Sporting Schools program.

Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2017–2021, page 10. Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, program objective B, page 274.

Demand for the Sporting Schools program in primary schools is greater than ever, with 5,281 primary programs funded in 2017–18. The Sporting Schools program was successfully rolled out to secondary schools, with a total of 487 schools receiving funding since the expansion launched in July 2017, significantly exceeding the planned target of 300 schools. The targeted program

focuses on Year 7 and 8 students, particularly girls and those in low socioeconomic areas, and the selection of schools has been based on three program goals:

  1. Tackle the decline in sports participation that occurs during adolescence: students aged 12-14, particularly girls.
  2. Increase physical activity in areas with large cohorts of inactive students.
  3. Provide access to tailored resources for schools where there is evidence of disadvantage.

Total student attendances for 2017–18 were 1,634,766—including 1,580,167 primary and 54,599 secondary school student attendances—greatly exceeding the 2017–18 performance target.

This represented an increase of 18 per cent since 2016–17 and brings the total number of student attendances to 4.31 million since the Sporting Schools program commenced in 2015. Student attendances represent the number of participants reported each term, and not the number of individual children, as children may participate more than once per year. Sport Australia does not collect data that allows for the identification of individual children and therefore reports the cumulative total attendances across the year.

There are now 7,705 schools registered for Sporting Schools, representing 81 per cent of all Australian schools3, and 6,570 schools have received funding since the program’s inception. This is a significant achievement towards meeting our purpose of enabling more people to play sport, and demonstrates the successful partnership between Sport Australia, schools and NSOs in delivering the program.

Due to the rapid growth of Sporting Schools, and in order to ensure equitable access to the program, Sport Australia will be implementing an open competitive process for assessing primary school grant applications from Term 3 2018 (July), with priority being given to schools that have received the lowest level of funding in the previous year and schools that propose to engage a higher proportion of their student populations.

  1. Based on Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority data on all registered schools operating in Australia.

Case study: Brunswick South West Primary

Sporting Schools encourages children to try as many sports as possible as you never know which one they’ll fall in love with. Students at Brunswick South West Primary School tried basketball and haven’t looked back.

Since running the Sporting Schools’ Aussie Hoops program, more than 30 students from Brunswick South West now play the sport each weekend.

Physical education specialist Sharron Dickinson says the school has entered five teams in the local domestic competition and created a club called ‘Brunswick Magic’.

‘The children became passionate about the game after developing their skills to a high standard,’ Dickinson says. They had a lot of fun along the way and wanted to keep playing.

‘Having the funding through Sporting Schools allowed our school to get an intensive program with a passionate presenter. In five weeks, basketball was delivered to over 300 students.’

Another highlight of the program was when a ‘satellite group’ from Waratah Special Development School joined the school for some sessions.

  • 300+ students
  • 5 sessions
  • Formed a club
  • 5 teams in a local competition
  • Inclusive — joined with Waratah Special Development School

Sport industry growth

Key activities

In order for Sport Australia to deliver on our high performance and participation objectives, we need a strong and sustainable sport industry. In 2017–18, Sport Australia focused on supporting NSOs and other sport sector partners through improvements in governance, with a specific focus on integrity and child safety; workforce development, including gender equality; coaching and officiating; and digital capability. Sport Australia continued to progress the implementation of the Mandatory Sports Governance Principles, and monitoring and development of organisational capability through our organisational development tool, Sport.Scan, which is designed to measure and track improvements in the organisational capability of NSOs. In 2017–18, Sport Australia also focused on work across community infrastructure.

Key activity areas included:

  • continuing to help sporting organisations improve their governance and drive united behaviours through national, state and territory levels
  • developing and delivering sector initiatives to optimise coach, official and leader talent and support sports to develop workforce strategies
  • assisting sports to identify commercial opportunities to improve their financial sustainability
  • helping sports develop their digital capability to ensure they are connecting with their customers effectively and utilising technology to support growth and innovation
  • evolving member and child protection to better support those who participate in, and deliver, sport for children.

Success is determined by the improvement in NSO organisational capability, as measured by Sport.Scan. Capability building activities are reflected in PBS Program Objective C, improving the sustainability of sports. Program Objective C outlines how Sport Australia will contribute to Outcome 1.

Our results

Table 7: Sport Australia performance against sport industry growth deliverables

Performance criteria

Improved organisational capability of national sporting organisations



The organisational development assessment shows improvement in the organisational capability of targeted national sporting organisations, compared to the previous year.



Supporting statement

In 2017–18, the average result for the top seven sports was 90 per cent, compared to 68 per cent in 2016-17.

The remaining sports in the top 23 maintained an average result of 74 per cent in 2017–18.

Source: ASC Corporate Plan 2017–2021, page 13. Portfolio Budget Statements 2017–18, program objective C, page 275.

In 2017–18, Sport Australia implemented improvements in data collection to the Sport.Scan process, allowing for a more robust and representative result for each sport. Sport.Scan assessments are included as a part of the ASPR process undertaken by Sport Australia and cover the 23 sports which receive the largest share of Sport Australia funding.

In 2017–18, there was a focus on the top seven funded sports, in particular across governance reform, which has contributed to a significant increase in organisational capability across these sports. In total, the top seven sports saw an increase of 22 per cent in their ratings compared to 2016–17, from 68 per cent to 90 per cent, while the remaining 16 sports maintained an average result of 74 per cent.

A key capability project was the release of the Child Safe Sport Framework. The Framework, released in November 2017 after three years of research, engagement and consultation, is designed to help NSOs implement child safe approaches across their sports and support a safeguarding culture at all levels of sport. The Framework includes a toolkit, process and education program, and is at the core of leading NSOs in child safe sport practices. This work reflects Sport Australia’s commitment to ensuring that all involved in Australian sport have a clear understanding of what constitutes child safe sport, and how to implement this in practice.

Case study: One management

Sport Australia has continued to partner with targeted NSOs to improve their governance systems to achieve a unified and central approach to management. The ‘One Management’ governance model enables sporting bodies operating in the Federated Model system to streamline management processes, reduce administrative and overhead costs, and improve leadership capabilities and decision-making processes.

Following the success of the Australian Sailing One Sailing project, work has continued to refine the reform process to better prepare sporting bodies to transition to the contemporary ‘One Management’ model. With the support of Sport Australia, Golf Australia (GA) is the latest NSO to commence the transition to One Management.

‘One Golf’ will bring all participating state and territory governing bodies under the GA umbrella, freeing up funding and resources to enable the sport to focus on strategic priorities. Sport Australia, in partnership with external advisory organisations, has concluded the transformation project to identify the steps needed to support GA and its members to undertake such a significant organisational project. To date, five of the seven states have made in-principle commitments to the model with implementation planned to continue in 2018.