Chief Executive Officer's report

Simon Hollingsworth

Simon Hollingsworth


As I reflect on my five years as CEO of the ASC, the one thing that continues to astound me is the breadth and depth of work the organisation does to fuel our nation’s sporting sector.

While the results from the Rio Olympic Games did not meet the ambitious goals set out in Australia’s Winning Edge, we remain committed to this 10-year game plan for high performance sport and believe it is helping generate long-term change in the sector.

A record percentage of top-eight finishes by Australians at the Rio Games were won by athletes under the age of 24. The vast majority of Australian athletes who won medals were supported by the ASC’s dAIS athlete incentive funding program, which shows that the ASC’s talent identification programs are working effectively.

We are proud of elite athletes and honoured to be able to support them. The work we do in high performance sport and athlete preparation is a cornerstone of the ASC, but looking back on 2015–16 highlights the enormous work the ASC does at every level of sport.

From increasing participation, reforming governance structures, making sports accountable for taxpayer investment, supporting coaching, fostering respect and tolerance on the sporting arena and helping sports maintain integrity in their structures and athletes; the ASC plays an important role.

Our flagship participation program Sporting Schools is performing beyond its targets with more than 4300 schools funded, underpinned by the quality assurance provided by the NSOs.

To further inform our future strategies around participation, we have started collecting data for the ASC’s first ever national population sport survey, AusPlay, which will fill a major gap in national sport and physical recreation data. It will become the single-source data currency for government and the sport sector that not only tracks Australian sport behaviours but also guides sport strategy, investment and delivery. AusPlay is a key element of the ASC’s participation strategy, Play.Sport.Australia. which aims to increase participation rates in organised sport for the better health and wellbeing of the nation.

A Play.Sport.Australia. promotions effort has been very effective with excellent traction gained through videos promoting the key messages of sticking with sport through adolescence and it never being too late in life to start playing sport.

This year the ASC has continued to work closely with the many stakeholders in a sport system united with the common goal of getting more Australian’s to play sport and helping the best and brightest reach their full potential on the world stage.

To achieve this the ASC held a number of consultation sessions with stakeholders from across the sporting sector while our Chair, John Wylie am, hosted several ASC Board Forums with presidents and CEOs from all our recognised NSOs, National Institute Network (NIN) directors, and SDSR leaders.

The forums provided a platform to discuss key strategic priorities while also allowing for feedback on reforms sports are making, with the help of the ASC, to their governance structures.

In April this year I represented the ASC at a hearing of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse regarding sporting organisations. This is an important area for the ASC and we are committed to building on existing initiatives to protect the safety of all children in sport.

As well as further promoting the value of women’s sport, and pushing for greater representation of our talented female athletes, the ASC has been proud to be involved in several programs to promote equality in the sector.

Our Future Female Leaders program has been well received and is continuing to highlight the excellent work being done by some of the many talented women at the ASC and NSOs.

I have also been very proud to represent the ASC with the Elite Sport Male Champions of Change. Through this program we have established a series of working groups at the ASC to help advance equality in areas of accountability, sponsorship of talent, recruitment and workplace flexibility, and promotion and leadership.

I would like to thank the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Minister for Sport, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP for her commitment to supporting sport and our fantastic athletes.

I also wish to thank my executive team, in particular Steve Jones, general manager of the ASC’s Corporate Operation Division, who retired from the Commission in June this year. Steve’s experience and skills have been valuable to the ASC over many years. He played a key role in overseeing the most recent upgrades of the AIS campus in Canberra, along with establishing the AIS European Training Centre in Varese, Italy, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this year.

Finally, this is my final Annual Report with the ASC, as I leave the organisation to take up a role with the Victorian Government in Melbourne. With the Rio Olympics over and as the ASC focused on the future, now is the right time to take the next step in my career. Thank you to all across the sector for what you are doing for Australian sport. Thank you to the ASC Board and its chair, Mr John Wylie AM, for his support and to the passionate and hardworking people of the ASC. It has been a privilege to lead this organisation over the past five years and we should be proud of what we have achieved.

Simon Hollingsworth

Chief Executive Officer
30 September 2016