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Grants good as gold for some sports

Netball is receiving $400 000 for brand awareness, while Athletics Australia gets $470 000 to enhance its marketability, management and long-term viability.

The extra funding will aim to relieve the financial pressures associated with increased travel costs, a falling Australian dollar and a difficult sponsorship market.

‘These grants will help sports develop the next generation of Australian sporting champions in a range of sports,’ Sports Minister Kate Ellis MP said.

‘The funding is a timely boost to sports to help assist them maintain international competition in light of difficult financial circumstances.’

But the cash splash has displeased some of the 80 sports who missed out on a slice of the pie, and is indicative of the greater financial concerns facing the sporting world.

The grants follow the government’s investment of $12.6 million last year, but the Australian Olympic Committee says its sports will need an extra $100 million just to maintain their current standards going into the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The request for extra funding will go to the Prime Minister for approval along with a proposal for a one-stop shop in sports funding.

The plan would see the creation of a national integrated sport policy, which would co-ordinate elite policy, funding, monitoring and review for Olympic and Commonwealth Games sports.

The funding proposal also includes a program of national athlete scholarships, ranging from $5000 to $20 000, and a tiered living allowance program linked to performance.

The chance of success for these proposals essentially hinges on a review of sport being conducted by an independent sports panel and headed by David Crawford, which will deliver its findings to the government at the end of this year.

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