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Aussie athletes won't feel Australian Sports Commission fund cuts

Date

David Barbeler

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Aussie athletes gunning for gold in Rio 2016 are not expected to feel the 75 job sackings and $50 million budget cuts about to hit the Australian Sports Commission.

CEO Simon Hollingsworth said the main impact of the coalition's federal budget will be absorbed in corporate operations to ensure athletes and coaches get a clear run towards the next Olympics.

"Preserving sport funding at current levels, and supporting athletes and sports towards the Rio 2016 Games remains a priority," he said.

The budget cuts about to hit the ASC include an efficiency dividend of 2.5 per cent ($6.6 million) for the next three years on their annual $265 million budget.

Additional savings of $9.7 million a year will also need to be found until 2016.

That's a total of just less than $50 million over the next three years.

Yet rather than reduce support for athletes in the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), Hollingsworth insists they'll receive more funding in the lead up to Rio.

He said the Direct Athlete Support program has been enhanced by re-allocating $1.6 million of existing annual funding directly to the nation's best medal hopes and emerging talent.

Hollingsworth said saving measures will instead be found by developing a centralised, more cost effective travel model for athletes and staff as well as implementing more efficient procurement practices.

The AIS will also look at sharing service arrangements with other nations - such as hosting them at the AIS.

For example, this week the Scottish boxing squad is training against the Australian boxing squad at the AIS ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July - minimising the impact on the budget bottom line as the visitors pay for their own travel and the facilities are already set up.

Better marketing strategies will also be looked at to attract more funding.

Finally, the number of the ASC's 600-strong staff will be reduced by 12.5 per cent.

"The ASC will need to reduce 75 full-time positions," Hollingsworth said.

It's believed the jobs will be phased out over the next two years.

AAP

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