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Sport turns to charitable donations for sustainability

Australian sports will be asked to double philanthropic donations within three years in a bid to end reliance on government funding

Sports will increasingly rely on philanthropic and corporate donations rather than government funding as part of a proposed 12-year shift.

The Sport 2030 report, released on Wednesday, calls for Australian sports to more than double their donation receipts within three years.

More than $44 million was raised through the Australian Sports Foundation in 2017/18, but the report calls for $100 million in 2012 and $300 million in 2030.

“Sport Australia will work to secure the health of the Australian sporting sector by assisting sports to diversify their sources of revenue or alternative funding to provide greater sustainability and strategic flexibility,” the report read.

The peak body wants to reduce the number of national sporting bodies that are more than 60 per cent reliant on government funding.

That means increasing the number of private sector partnerships in national sporting organisations by 50 per cent in 2025 and another 50 per cent by 2030.

In 2016 the Australian philanthropic sector was worth $12 billion but sport made up just 0.3 per cent of that figure.

“The Australian Government will work with national sports to enhance the approach to philanthropic foundations based on the health, education, community and high performance outcomes that sport provides,” the report said.

According to the report, The Sports Foundation has a unique tax deductible status to raise money to develop sport at all levels, from local clubs to elite levels, “but more is needed to boost the sustainability of many organisations and ensure Australia’s sport sector remains strong and diverse.”

“To bolster the financial stability of sporting organisations throughout the nation, the Australian Government is enhancing the role of the Australian Sports Foundation by increasing its reach to attract greater philanthropic donations.”

The Australian Sports Commission, which has been rebranded as Sport Australia, is considering a national lottery to support stars, similar to the United Kingdom.

Sport Australia Chairman, John Wylie, said the UK lottery was directly linked to the country’s rising success in world sport.

“There’s no doubt in the long-term, the Australian sporting system to remain as successful as its been in the past will need more funding,” Wylie said.

Australian sport is also looking to charity to boost hopes of gold medals.

Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie has committed to a business plan to revitalise the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). The announcement came a day after Australian marathon champion Rob De Castella declared the AIS was dead.

Wylie noted the institute’s maintenance bill was $16 million a year but denied it was being hollowed out: “It’s evolving into being a strategic agency for sport, a system leader for Australian sport.”

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