Sports funding hit

CANBERRA - 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. 

Simon Hollingsworth

Simon Hollingsworth

Tasmanian chief executive Simon Hollingsworth said the main impact of the Coalition's federal budget would  be absorbed in corporate operations to ensure that athletes and coaches got 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 its 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. 

Rather than reduce support for athletes in the Australian Institute of Sport, Launceston-born Hollingsworth, a former St Patrick's College student who contested the 400m hurdles at two Commonwealth Games, two Olympics and a world championships in the 1990s, insists they'll receive more funding in the lead-up to Rio. 

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

Hollingsworth, who began his ASC role in September 2011,  said saving measures would instead be found by developing a centralised, more cost-effective travel model for athletes and staff.

 The AIS will also look at sharing service arrangements with other nations;  better marketing strategies will  be looked at to attract more funding; and the ASC's 600-strong staff will be cut by 75 over the next two years. 

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